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Khamenei Pushes for Arming Palestinians in the West Bank

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

During a meeting (June 14) between Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Iran's Leader, and Ziyad al-Nakhalah, the Secretary General of Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Ayatollah Khamenei emphasized that the "current situation of the Zionist regime is vastly different compared to 70 years ago… the Zionist enemy is now in a passive and reactive position...while the resistance groups, including Islamic Jihad, have accurately identified the path forward". The growing power of the Resistance groups in the West Bank is the key that can bring the Zionist enemy to its knees. We must continue along this path."

Khamenei's repeated meetings with Islamic Jihad leadership highlight the organization's crucial role and perceived value in Iran's strategy to challenge Israel. As a protégé of Iran, the Islamic Jihad is distinguished from Hamas, which maintains a relatively more independent operational approach. Following the meeting with the Secretary General of the Islamic Jihad, a poster was released by Khamenei's office, highlighting the key points discussed, notably emphasizing that "the strength of the resistance organizations in the West Bank is crucial in overcoming the Zionist regime."

Nakhalah, in turn, hailed Iran’s unwavering support for Palestinians while "No other country in the world takes such a stance so explicitly.” PIJ's Secretary General pointed to a meeting in Tehran between senior officials of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution’s Guards Corps (IRGC) as “a testament to Tehran’s support for the Palestinian resistance factions” that also “highlights strong ties between PIJ, Hamas and the Islamic Republic.”

Ziad Al-Nakhale also met (June 17) Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, the Majlis speaker. Qalibaf emphasized the significance of Palestine as the forefront of the Resistance Front and highlighted the unity among various groups and movements. He also mentioned the "internal insecurity, economic problems, and weakening of the Zionist regime," stating that these factors have weakened it.

Referring to the recent war in Gaza ( Operation Shield and Arrow), Al-Nakhale hailed the current resistance in the West Bank and acknowledged Iran's prominent role in assisting "the resistance in Palestine."

Al-Nakhale and Qalibaf: Palestine is at the front of the Axis of Resistance.

Al-Nakhlae also met with Ali Akbar Ahmadian, the representative of the Leader and the newly appointed Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC). Ahmadian also highlighted the "declining status of the Israeli regime and the rising "power of the Resistance Front. " SNSC Secretary affirmed Iran's fundamental policy of supporting the PIJ and emphasized that "the expansion of resistance across Palestine would result in the downfall of the Zionist regime."

Ahmadian highlighted the "significance of the West Bank joining the resistance movement, stating that it has opened a new field against the Zionist regime." Ahmadian also emphasized that "normalizing relations with the regime occupying Jerusalem would be detrimental to the security and national interests of the region." adding that such normalization threatens regional security and undermines social capital in the Arab and Islamic world.

Hamas politburo leader Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Tehran on June 19, heading the Hamas delegation, and met (June 20) with President Ibrahim Raisi, who stated that "it is useless to negotiate with this regime (Israel) and the only possible way to face it is resistance." Raisi reiterated that any attempt to normalize relations with Israel is a betrayal of the Palestinian cause. "The proponents of the Zionist Regime who aim to normalize relations between certain Islamic countries and the Zionist Regime should recognize that such efforts will not ensure security for them. Furthermore, these countries should know that this approach will only foster resentment among their people and Muslim nations.".

Haniyeh expressed gratitude for the continuous support of Iran "for the liberation of Quds" (Jerusalem) and stated, "Today, the Resistance Front, not only in Gaza but also in the West Bank, the occupied territories of expanding and strengthening". In his meeting with SNSC's secretary, Ahmadian emphasized the resistance as the most effective strategy "to put an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, which has persisted for over seven decades."

Kayhan's front page headline: The recent events in "Jenin" indicate a promising future marked by a decisive triumph; Gaza serves as the Resistance core, but the primary and decisive battle is unfolding in the West Bank.

Khamenei: "West Bank should be armed just like Gaza."

Khamenei declared (2014), "I believe the West Bank should be armed just like Gaza, and action must be taken in this direction." On multiple occasions since 2014, senior commanders of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have made an effort – mainly through IRGC's Quds Force - to arm Palestinians in the West Bank by orders from Supreme Leader Khamenei.

In August 2022, following the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Operation Breaking Dawn against the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, IRGC Commander General Hossein Salami met with Ziyad al-Nakhallahto discuss an agreement to enhance Islamic Jihad's activities in the northern West Bank.

During an interview with the Supreme Leader website, Salami declared (Aug 2022) that Iran would provide arms to the "resistance" in the West Bank, similar to its support in Gaza. Salami confirmed that the process had already commenced. "the West Bank becomes a significant factor, and Khamenei has emphasized the importance of arming the West Bank." He ridiculed Israel's inability to halt the influx of weapons into the West Bank "Acquiring weapons today has become more accessible compared to the past. The proliferation and advancement of technology cannot be prevented...transportation of weapons has become relatively straightforward, catching the Israelis off guard in most cases".

The high-level meetings coincide with a rise in terrorist attacks in the Judea and Samaria region (West Bank), some of which were carried out by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas. These attacks have encouraged Iran as it endeavors to transform the West Bank into an additional front in its ongoing conflict with Israel, solidifying its national security strategy.

Iran wants to duplicate the capabilities that Hezbollah used in Lebanon against the IDF - IEDs explosively formed penetrator (EFPs ) - and later used against the coalition forces in Iraq, the Saudis-led coalition in Yemen and Gaza, also against the IDF, and settlers in the West Bank. "Hezbollah" is the Iranian model of success and the guide for the other proxy organizations throughout the Middle East. Hezbollah's infiltration and the attack in the Megiddo prove that Hezbollah has access to the West Bank and the Israeli Arabs who enter the West Bank unhindered. That is why recruiting activists from among the Israeli Arabs is in order. Today the Iranian and Hezbollah carry out the instructions from Tehran aiming at Lebanonization of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza and the west bank.

In any case, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force commanders are working hard to implement the Supreme Leader's orders to arm terrorist organizations in the West Bank, just like in Gaza.


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