The representative of the Palestinian Hamas in Lebanon, Ali Barakah, has said that the militant group wants Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to unify the Islamic community and lead the fight against the United States and Israel after Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital. In an exclusive interview with Tasnim News Agency, an outlet affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), said Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, recently sent a letter to Khamenei, thanking the Iranian leader for Iran’s support for Hamas and to further strengthen ties between Hamas and the Islamic Republic. “This letter is important as it was sent after the cruel decision by Trump on the transfer of American embassy to Jerusalem, which shows Washington sides with the Zionist regime. The significance of this letter is that it aims to unite the efforts of the Islamic world to fight against the Global Arrogance, which is America, and the regime occupying Jerusalem [Israel]. Today, the Arab and Islamic community should support the intifada and resistance of the Palestine because the fight against Islam and Palestine is an international war,” Barakah added.
Comment: In a letter to Khamenei, the Hamas leader praised Iranian support for the militant group, and particularly Tehran’s “unwavering and valuable” stance on the issue of Jerusalem. According to the Iranian media, Haniyeh denounced Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and emphasized in the letter that launching another intifada against Israel would be the best course of action at present. “With the outbreak of the roaring popular Intifada in the West Bank and al-Quds, we will foil with God’s permission the conspiracy of the tyrant of the time and the rulers of hypocrisy in the capitals near and far, who want to put an end to the Palestinian issue.” He also thanked Khamenei for his guidance to the “resistance movement” and cautioned that Washington’s Jerusalem announcement was part of a broader “conspiracy” to “destroy the pillars of resistance” and pave the way for Israel’s normalization of relations with the Islamic countries in the region.
Iranian leaders have been trying to exploit Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital to further strengthen Tehran’s ties with the Palestinian militant groups. Soon after Trump’s announcement, both President Hassan Rouhani and Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani called leaders of Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups to pledge Iran’s “all-out support” for their struggle against Israel. “We are confident that a new intifada will continue its path to attain the rights of the Palestinian nation,” Rouhani told Haniyeh over the phone, according to the Iranian media. Meanwhile, Soleimani told the leadership of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades that other groups within the “resistance axis in the region” are also ready to defend the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
One the one hand, Tehran is portraying itself as the “real” defender of Sunni Palestinians in an effort to change the regional perception that it is promoting a sectarian agenda by aiding only Shiite armed groups in the Middle East. Tehran also hopes that Washington’s decision to unilaterally declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would help Iran’s efforts, as one analyst wrote in IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency, to further strengthen the “resistance front” in the region against the United States and Israel.
After a period of tension and uncertainty, Tehran and Hamas recently took steps to improve their relationship. The Hamas leadership’s decision not to support the embattled regime of Bashar al-Assad and to move closer to Saudi Arabia and Qatar had soured the militant group’s ties with Iran. Tehran may be finding a solace now that Hamas is returning to the Iranian orbit. In October, a senior Hamas delegation visited Tehran and met with top Iranian leaders as the militant group in control of Gaza reached a reconciliation agreement with its Palestinian rival Fatah, which runs the West Bank.
By Ahmad Majidyar | Fellow and Director of IranObserved Project – The Middle East Institute | Jan 23, 2018