Iran’s plan to turn Judea and Samaria into a terror base

The rockets being fired from the West Bank should serve as a loud alarm bell to all those who continue to talk about the so-called two-state solution.

A rocket purportedly fired from Jenin, in northern Samaria, on June 26, 2023. Source: Twitter.
A rocket purportedly fired from Jenin, in northern Samaria, on June 26, 2023. Source: Twitter.
Bassam Tawil

Palestinian terrorists have already turned the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip into a base from which to fire tens of thousands of rockets at Israel. Now, with the help of Iran, they are trying to do the same in Judea and Samaria

The U.S. administration’s recent move to give Iran access to at least $16 billion, including $6 billion held in South Korea, as part of a prisoner exchange deal will undoubtedly benefit Tehran’s Palestinian terror proxies Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The two terror groups, which seek the destruction of Israel, have long been receiving financial and military aid from Iran’s mullahs.

Even worse, the U.S. congressional oversight required for any deal with Iran was nullified this week when the Biden administration, apparently to avoid such oversight, announced its plans during Congress’ summer recess. As reported by Richard Goldberg on Aug. 15:

“That the White House announced this deal during the August congressional recess was no coincidence. Emergency hearings cannot be held. Resolutions of disapproval cannot be fast-tracked. President Biden has successfully evaded the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which requires him to notify Congress of any agreement with Iran related to its nuclear program before lifting sanctions.”

In the past three months, a group affiliated with the Iranian-backed Hamas terror movement fired at least six rockets towards Israeli communities from the Jenin area in the northern West Bank.

On Aug. 15, the Israel Defense Forces tweeted:

“6 rockets in 3 months. That is the number of failed rocket launch attempts carried out in the area of the Menashe Regional Brigade in the past 3 months, the most recent being a short while ago. We will continue operating to thwart any threats against Israeli civilians.”

On July 27, the IDF announced:

“A rocket launch was carried out toward the Israeli community of Ram On. However, the rocket remnants were located adjacent to the Palestinian town of Silat al-Harithiya by security forces. This is a prime example of terrorists using new ways to threaten innocent Israeli civilians without a care for Palestinian lives.”

The terror group behind the Aug. 15 attacks is called Ayyash Battalion, named after Yahya Ayyash, a Hamas arch-terrorist who was behind a series of suicide bombings in Israel during the 1990s. The bombings he orchestrated killed about 90 Israelis, a great many of whom were civilians. Ayyash is celebrated by many Palestinians, who have named streets and other locales in his honor.

The rockets launched from the Jenin area have so far caused no damage or injuries.

In a video posted on social media on Aug. 15, the Ayyash Battalion said:

“Our mujahideen [warriors] were able to shell the settlement of Shaked, west of Jenin, with a Qassam 1 rocket in response to the occupation crimes against our people and to avenge the blood of our martyrs.”

Last month, the same terror group said that “despite the complex and sensitive security conditions [in the West Bank], and the lack of capabilities and tools, the Ayyash Battalion continues to develop and prepare [for carrying out rocket attacks].”

According to the group, “the preparation and development are continuing, and the next [phase] will be greater.”

When the terrorists talk about the “complex and sensitive” situation, they are boasting that they were able to fire the rockets despite the presence of Israeli and Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank.

Last month, Saleh Arouri, deputy chairman of Hamas’s political bureau, boasted that his group was responsible for the rocket attacks from the West Bank:

“The state of resistance in the West Bank is developing, and [Israel] is panicking as it watches its development, as was the case in the Gaza Strip… The resistance fighters in the West Bank are using knives, pistols, and rifles, as well as explosive devices and rockets.”

The rocket attacks are part of an increased attempt by Iran’s Palestinian proxies to establish themselves in the West Bank and set up a military infrastructure there, according to a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute:

“[I]t is clear that the terror organizations are changing their methods of warfare and how they are conducting their armed struggle against Israel from the West Bank, and are attempting to duplicate in the West Bank the methods used to fight Israel in the Gaza Strip. To this end, they are operating in three ways:

“With ongoing efforts to arm the West Bank, including manufacturing weapons and advanced explosive devices, by excavating tunnels and launching rockets and by maintaining anti-Israel military cooperation among the terror organizations, following the example of the joint war room in the Gaza Strip.”

The MEMRI report also noted that the armament efforts in the West Bank are energetically assisted by the Islamic Republic of Iran, on the orders of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei:

“Khamenei issued these orders a decade ago, and successive commanders of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps have declared numerous times that they are implementing these orders. Hamas and PIJ leaders regularly thank Iran publicly for its military aid to their organizations, including inside the West Bank.”

In an interview with Qatar-owned Al-Jazeera TV, PIJ Secretary-General Ziyad al-Nakhaleh revealed that Iran has been providing the Palestinian terror groups with military aid:

“They also provide us with military expertise… I believe that most of the financial and military aid goes to Hamas. Hamas gets more than Palestinian Islamic Jihad, perhaps because they are bigger than us,” he said.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has also praised Iran for providing his group with money and weapons. “I want to thank those who have given money and weapons to the brave resistance: the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he has said.

Judging from the statements of the Hamas and PIJ leaders, the Palestinian terrorists now firing rockets at Israeli communities from the West Bank could not have done so without the assistance of Iran. Hamas and PIJ do not recognize Israel’s right to exist, period. The two groups are offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose outspoken objective is the establishment of a sovereign Islamic state that would replace Israel.

The Hamas Covenant states:

“The land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for further Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered. It, or any part of it, should not be given up.”

The Covenant also openly states (article 13):

“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad [holy war]. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

Similarly, PIJ wants to establish a sovereign Islamic Palestinian state with the geographic borders of pre-1948 mandate Palestine. Like Hamas, it advocates the destruction of Israel through violent means; it approaches the Arab-Israeli conflict as an ideological war, not a territorial dispute.

In a 2009 interview, former PIJ leader Ramadan Shalah said: “I will never, under any circumstances, accept the existence of the State of Israel.”

The Palestinian terrorists who are firing rockets at Israel are not doing it because they want to drive Jews out of the West Bank. Instead, they are launching the rockets because they want to destroy Israel.

Those Americans and Europeans who are calling for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank are ignoring the threats by Hamas and PIJ to continue the fight until the elimination of Israel. The rockets being fired from the West Bank should serve as a loud alarm bell to all those who continue to talk about the so-called two-state solution.

The terrorists are able to fire rockets from the West Bank while Israeli security forces are still there. It is not difficult to imagine what would happen if Israel pulled out of these territories. After the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip in 2005, the Palestinian terror groups fired tens of thousands of rockets into Israeli cities and towns. An Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank would mean handing the area to the total control of Iran and its Palestinian terror proxies and turning it into yet another base for jihad.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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