By Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute—
Why are Iran’s Palestinian proxies, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, disturbed about the death of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, who was killed in a US airstrike on January 3, 2020?
The two Iranian-backed groups in the Gaza Strip were quick to mourn the “martyr” Soleimani and condemn his assassination as an “American-Zionist scheme.” Leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad described the death of Soleimani as a “big loss for Palestine and the Palestinian resistance.”
Hamas and Islamic Jihad set up a mourning tent for Soleimani in the Gaza Strip, where their representative invited Palestinians to offer condolences for the death of the Iranian military commander. The heads of the two groups, Ismail Haniyeh (Hamas) and Ziad Al-Nakhalah (Islamic Jihad) also travelled to Iran to attend the funeral of Soleimani and offer condolences to Iran’s leaders over his death.
The reaction of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to the death of Soleimani is proof that the two groups have long been serving as Iran’s proxies in the Gaza Strip, home to two million Palestinians. Without Iran’s financial, military and political support, Hamas and Islamic Jihad would not have been able to maintain their control over the Gaza Strip.
Soleimani used his Quds Force to support Iran’s proxies not only in the Gaza Strip, but also those in Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon. While he used the pro-Iran militias in the Arab countries to kill many Arabs, Soleimani and his Quds Force supported Hamas and Islamic Jihad in their jihad (holy war) against Israel. Soleimani also supported Hamas and Islamic Jihad in their conflict with the Palestinian Authority (PA), and by doing so further contributed to deepening divisions among the Palestinians.
Soleimani’s mission was not only to ensure that Hamas and Islamic Jihad retain their control over the Gaza Strip, but that they also have enough weapons to pursue their fight against Israel.
To justify their public mourning of Soleimani, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have, in the past few days, revealed that the slain Iranian military commander played a major role in helping them develop their military capabilities, particularly regarding tens of thousands of rockets that were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip in the past decade. Continue Reading…..