Palestinian Islamic Jihad is seeking to play a major role against US President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century.” At the same time, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force has issued a message calling for resistance against the plan and praising the Palestinians for “standing alone” against it.

Iranian media reported on a speech by PIJ leader Khader Habib in Gaza’s Deir al-Balah this week, in which he said that the Palestinians must not give up one inch of territory to the “conspiracy” that is Trump’s deal. He also slammed Jews and Zionists.

Islamic Jihad claims Jerusalem is a “purely Islamic city” and that all of the land from the “river to the sea” belongs to Palestinians. He argued that the “Deal of the Century” will fail. The first option for PIJ is resistance and to realize national unity. “We will continue to oppose the deal in all its forms, and regain our rights and not surrender to the usurper, the Trump regime.”

Another PIJ member, Nafaz Azzam, called for Palestinian unity. “There is no place for neutrality in this fight.” Iran appears to see here the possibility for cooperation with Hamas, as Tasnim media reports. It’s interesting because in November Israel launched a short conflict against Islamic Jihad and Hamas remained outside the fighting. This appeared to be Hamas seeking a long-term agreement with Israel while sidelining PIJ.

But the deal proposed by Trump might have upset the decision making in these groups. Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah has given hints of working on national unity after more than a decade and a half of division. Iran would prefer that.

Hamas has an eight-part proposal for opposing the “Deal of the Century.” It wants all Palestinians to oppose the plan and to be hostile toward US government activities. It asks for complete withdrawal from the Oslo agreement and welcomes the Abbas initiative. But Hamas wants a clear vision and “practical steps.” It condemns Arab countries that have appeared warmer to Trump’s proposal. Hamas says it will destroy “Zionist settlements” in Haifa, Jaffa and Acre to “cleanse the country of Zionists.”

In a text published by the Quds Force, the Iranian regime slams the deal and calls Palestinians “dear friends” who are fighting the “Zionist usurper.” It refers to Arab countries that supported the plan as “traitors” and refers to those opposing the plan as mujahideen (jihadists). The Islamic Republic of Iran will stand with the Palestinians, the Quds Force says. The US killed the force’s commander Qasem Soleimani in an airstrike on January 3. The new deputy of the force is Mohammad Hejazi, who helped Iran traffic precision guidance technology to Lebanon for Hezbollah’s missiles.

Taken together, the Quds Force comments and focus on Islamic Jihad working with Hamas illustrate Iran’s potential plans to oppose the “Deal of the Century.” The main goal for Tehran is to try to mobilize support in Palestinian areas and neighboring states.

Iran wants to end Islamic Jihad’s isolation in Gaza and make it more relevant, along with overall attempts to make the Quds Force appear capable after the death of Soleimani. This could cause Iran to support operations against Israel to show off PIJ’s capabilities. But Iran knows the response it has received in the past in Syria, and which PIJ has suffered in Gaza, creates an uphill struggle.

Source » jpost