(January 31, 2023 / JNS) Media claims that last weekend’s terror attacks in Jerusalem were an act of revenge for the deaths of nine members of Islamic Jihad during an IDF raid in Jenin are false. The attacks were a product of hateful ideology and antisemitic incitement.
One can see this in the way Palestinian society celebrated the attack. In Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin and eastern Jerusalem, candies were joyously handed out, while Hamas, Islamic Jihad and even the ostensibly “moderate” Fatah spoke in praise of the murderers.
Far from a specific act of revenge, the attacks were part of a long legacy of Palestinian opposition to the very presence of Jews in the Land of Israel, which in the last year alone has resulted in 2,200 attacks and 29 deaths. Moreover, this spike in terror came after decades of Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets from Gaza, as well as suicide bombings, stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks. All of these have been met with Palestinian celebration and the happy cry of “death to the Jews.”
The world, however, appears to be finally distancing itself from such a debased attitude. Several Sunni Arab countries, including Egypt, Jordan and the UAE, condemned last weekend’s attacks, and this is part of a larger regional trend away from Palestinian rejectionism. There were also unusually strong U.S. and international condemnations of the attacks.
Part of the reason for this trend is Iran. For several years, Iran has been attempting to move into the Palestinian arena, giving cash and sometimes weapons to Palestinian terror groups.
I saw one of the first signs of this during the second intifada when I interviewed a terrorist in Bethlehem who had just converted from Sunni to Shia Islam. I told the story to my friend David Wurmser, who felt it was important enough to inform then-Vice President Dick Cheney, to whom Wurmser was an advisor.
Wurmser was right, as since then Iran has massively expanded its influence over and largesse towards all the genocidal enemies of Israel and the Jewish people as a whole. That Bethlehem terrorist was one of the first Palestinians to be captured by the Iranians’ fiendish designs.
Today, Iranian money gushes into the coffers of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and many analysts now believe Iran is beginning to influence the Palestinian Authority as well.
But something else is happening that may work in Israel’s favor, and indeed in favor of all those around the world who oppose terrorism and the Iranian regime that sponsors it: The Iranians have made what may be a fatal mistake. They have openly joined forces with Russian President Vladimir Putin in his war on Ukraine, providing him with military equipment such as drones.
This puts Iran on a direct collision course with the United States and the Western world in general, which is standing firm against Russian aggression and aiding the Ukrainians in their fight against the invaders. A clear Russia-Iran axis now exists, and if the Palestinians continue to court Iranian support, they may find themselves facing a West that is no longer interested in indulging them.
The West now sees Iran in a new way. They do not see it as a problem to be solved but as an outright enemy of the West that is helping to prolong the first land war in Europe since World War II. The West also sees the massive violations of human rights the ayatollahs are committing against the brave protesters against the theocratic regime—the killing of hundreds of women and children, the executions of young demonstrators and more.
So, when the West sees the recent spectacular attack on facilities in Isfahan that likely manufactured drones—a strike widely attributed to Israel—they understand that those drones were not only intended to be used against Israel but also Ukraine. They understand that if Israel did indeed hit those facilities, it did not just help itself, but also the West as a whole.
For years, the West has ignored Iran’s daily calls for the destruction of Israel. But now it knows that Iran not only wants to destroy Israel, but also Ukraine, and in the end, the West itself. Perhaps they are now prepared to see Israel, at long last, with new eyes.
Fiamma Nirenstein was a member of the Italian Parliament (2008-13), where she served as vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Chamber of Deputies. She served in the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and established and chaired the Committee for the Inquiry into Anti-Semitism. A founding member of the international Friends of Israel Initiative, she has written 13 books, including Israel Is Us (2009). Currently, she is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and is the author of Jewish Lives Matter.
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