The Iranian-backed Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad has committed to spark an escalation on the southern front if Israel enters a military conflict with Lebanon’s Hezbollah on the north, said the Palestinian faction’s leader, Ziad Nakhala, in an interview to the state-owned Iranian TV channel Al-Alam.
Islamic Jihad is the second largest military organization in Gaza. Although the group normally works in coordination with Hamas, it has recently subjugated itself almost completely to Iran, despite being a Sunni organization, and was the one that initiated a round of fighting on the southern border last October.
“In the next confrontation with the occupation, the axis of resistance will operate from the north in Lebanon to the south in Gaza,” said Nakhala.
The interview was conducted Saturday following a series of meetings between Nakhala and Islamic Republic’s top officials, including Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Nakhala arrived in Tehran accompanied by the terror group’s two senior officials, Khaled Al-Batsh and Mohammed al-Hindi.
“Iran’s support and its position (on the Palestinian issue) play a major role in defeating the efforts made to dismiss the issue of Palestinian rights,” said Nakhala after the meeting with Rouhani. “The Palestinian people are being pressured by the U.S. and Israel to accept the so-called ‘deal of the century,’ which is meant to close the Palestinian cause.”
The Trump administration’s long-delayed peace plan, dubbed “deal of the century” is yet to be unveiled, but has already drawn criticism from the Palestinians who fear the deal will overwhelmingly favor the Israeli side following President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate there the U.S. embassy.
Rouhani following the meeting said the only way the Palestinians can defeat “the Israeli oppression” is by rising up and fighting “the Israeli entity.”
“Muslims world-wide must support the struggle of the Palestinian people to realize their right, including the right of return … Despite the Madrid protocols and the Oslo agreements, Israel has not fulfilled its obligation to allow the Palestinian refugees to return,” the Iranian president said.
The Islamic Jihad leader echoed Rouhani’s statements during a discussion he held with Supreme Leader Khamenei.
“The Palestinian people are capable of subduing the Zionist entity in a way that armies haven’t been able to do. The great victories of the Palestinian people are coming,” Nakhala added.
Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, who also met with Nakhala on Saturday, added that the Islamic Republic “will forever stand by the Palestinian people … Palestine is one of the most important aspects of Tehran’s foreign policy.”
Source » ynetnews