It looks as though Iran will be able to reach Israel’s backyard very soon, thanks to the so-called moderate Palestinian Fatah faction led by President Mahmoud Abbas. The Fatah unity deal with Hamas not only will bring the Gaza terror group into the Palestinian government, but Iranian influence as well, as Hamas is trying to restore relations with Iran.
The Iranian Fars News Agency reported that Hamas officials are enthusiastic about bettering ties with Iran and are working out their differences. This could result in more than just handshakes—Iran is a key distributor of weapons to terrorists, and Hamas has received their arms before.
According to the US State Department’s 2013 edition of the “Country Reports on Terrorism,” Iran has “historically provided weapons, training, and funding to Hamas.” However, the links between Iran and Hamas have been “strained” over differences in the Syrian civil war.
Hamas has in the past opposed the Syrian regime, which is a close ally of Iran.
But just as Hamas is trying to reunite with Fatah and restore their influence in the heart of Israeli territory, they are also reaching out to Iran.
That could result in disaster and war. Iranian efforts to arm Hamas have long been a concern. If those weapons could be used in the West Bank region, that would give Hamas the capability to hit most if not all of Israel’s major cities.
Smuggling weapons, especially missiles, to Hamas is already difficult. Reaching the West Bank, where Israel has even more extensive counterterrorism efforts than in Gaza, would be especially challenging. But it’s still a threat that would be more likely if Fatah is no longer helping Israel keep Hamas at bay there.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already warned that if Hamas attacks Israel and is united with Fatah, the Palestinian leadership would be held responsible—not just Hamas.
In comments released by his office earlier this month, Netanyahu said, “If President Abbas goes ahead with this national unity with Hamas, a terrorist organization that regularly fires rockets into Israel, then we’ll have to hold him accountable for every rocket that is fired from Gaza, to Israel.”
And if Iran can smuggle weapons to Hamas in the West Bank, concern over Gaza rockets will be a pale in comparison.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastudpate.com, May 28, 2014)