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Iran's Militarization of West Bank Raises Concerns - part 1

The Secretary-General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Ziyad al-Nakhalah, was interviewed by the al-vefag (Al-Wifaq) newspaper affiliated with the Supreme National Security Council media outlets. In the interview, al-Nakhalah discussed various topics, including the Palestinian resistance, the arming of the West Bank, and relations with Iran and the Quds Force (IRGC-QF).

Question: How has the Palestinian resistance evolved, leading to shorter wars and truce-seeking from the Zionist entity? What role has Iran played in this development, particularly in the West Bank?

Answer: Over the years, the Palestinian people have faced significant challenges and various authorities, including Jordanian and Egyptian control over the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Following the Israeli occupation of these territories in 1967, resistance efforts began to emerge, initially accompanied by attempts at negotiations and understanding with Israel through the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). However, Palestinians gradually realized the futility of negotiations as Israel failed to uphold its commitments under the Oslo Agreement. This realization, coupled with the emergence and strengthening of resistance factions like Islamic Jihad and Hamas, shifted the focus toward resistance activities.

Iran's role has been influential in supporting the Palestinian cause and resistance movements. Since the Islamic Revolution over forty years ago, Palestinian relations with the Islamic Republic have evolved, leading to the exchange of experiences and expertise. The Palestinian resistance has benefited from Iran's technical and military assistance, particularly in manufacturing, arming, and developing missile capabilities. These experiences have contributed to the transformation of the resistance, enabling them to strike Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv, with greater effectiveness.

The arming of the West Bank, a directive issued by Iran's Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, significantly impacted the region. Efforts were made to implement this directive, including weapon smuggling and purchasing from Israel. The aim was to bring about a qualitative shift in the Palestinian situation and enhance resistance actions in the West Bank. During a (recent) visit to Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei reiterated the importance of developing the West Bank's armament and resistance activities. This process requires the Palestinians' efforts and support from the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Regarding countries or regimes opposing the arming of the West Bank, those promoting peace and settlement projects with Israel stand against resistance efforts. Arab countries that support settlement and reconciliation with Israel align with this stance. However, the will of the Palestinian people plays a crucial role in obstructing settlement projects. The resistance remains a necessary response to the occupation as long as Palestine remains under Israeli control. The strength of the resistance is intertwined with the readiness, effort, and sacrifices made by Palestinians. Israel's existence is believed to end with continued determination and strengthening of the resistance eventually.

In recent years, the Palestinian resistance has made significant strides, experiencing a qualitative leap and strengthening daily. The willingness and sacrifices of the Palestinian people, combined with their continued fight for justice, threaten the Zionist project. The aim is to change the perception of Israelis, making them realize there is no chance for a peaceful and stable life in Palestine. By persisting in this struggle, the conviction that the establishment of Israel was a historical mistake can be reinforced, leading to the eventual departure of Jewish settlers from the country. Developments have been witnessed in the West Bank, and the determination remains to bring about change and liberation, even if challenges persist.

Question: How would you describe the role of the late martyr Qassem Soleimani ( IRGC-QF Commander killed in January 2020 by an American strike ) in supporting the Palestinian cause, and is this support continuing with Haj Ismail Qaani?

Answer: Hajj Qassem Soleimani played a crucial role in embodying the principles and positions of the Islamic Republic of Iran in supporting the Palestinian people. Under his leadership, the Islamic Republic took a strong political stance by refusing to recognize "Israel" and actively working to delegitimize the Zionist entity internationally. Despite facing blockades and sanctions, the Islamic Republic supported the Palestinian cause. Qassem Soleimani was instrumental in championing these principles and supporting the Palestinian people on various levels.

In terms of practical support, it is important to clarify that the aid provided by the Islamic Republic to the Palestinian people is significant. The assistance includes security and military help, training, economic support, and humanitarian aid for the families of martyrs and prisoners. While the Islamic Republic has contributed to creating a resistance infrastructure in Palestine, the extent of economic assistance should not be overstated. Qassem Soleimani oversaw and followed up on these efforts, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to the Palestinian cause.

With the passing of Hajj Qassem Soleimani, the responsibility of representing the Islamic Republic's program now falls on Haj Ismail Qaani (New Commander of the IRGFC-QF). Both individuals embody the aspirations and convictions of the Iranian people in supporting the Palestinian cause. They represent the continuation of the Islamic Republic's policy and its unwavering support for the Palestinian people. This commitment remains steadfast under the leadership of Haj Ismail Qaani, preserving the support from Iran and the Supreme Leader.

Al-Nakhalah: Arming of the West Bank


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