Why Hamas Is Directing Rioters to Sabotage Gaza’s Economic Lifeline

Over the past few days, rioters in Gaza have managed to destroy the pipelines that bring fuel into the territory, leaving residents unable to use their stoves or obtain gasoline for their vehicles. The rioters, apparently at the direction of Hamas officials, also attacked other infrastructure at the Kerem Shalom border crossing—the only link between Israel and Gaza—including conveyor belts for transporting raw materials. Having spoken with IDF officials responsible for monitoring the border crossing, Judah Ari Gross writes:

As part of an agreement late last year, Hamas handed over the keys to the Palestinian side of Kerem Shalom to the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas, [so that] the Palestinian Authority (PA) could collect taxes on the goods coming through the crossing. This was supposed to be the case for Egypt’s Rafah crossing as well, but Hamas recently seized back control of that passageway. (On Saturday, Egypt reopened Rafah Crossing as a temporary substitute for Kerem Shalom.)

With nothing coming through Kerem Shalom, that means no taxes are being collected by the Palestinian Authority. Meanwhile, “all the taxes from Rafah go to Hamas,” [one IDF] officer said. Unnamed Palestinian sources told the Ynet news site on Saturday that they’d come to a similar conclusion: that the terror group had the crossing destroyed so that its rival, the PA, wouldn’t be able to collect taxes and Hamas would.

But shutting down Kerem Shalom also serves another, perhaps more important goal for Hamas as it gears up for this week’s “March of Return” protests. While the Israeli military believes Hamas is encouraging and directing the riots, the engine that is keeping them going runs on the anger and frustration of the residents of the Gaza Strip, which will only be increased in light of Kerem Shalom’s closure. “They are playing with their people, putting pressure on their people and then ‘exporting’ that pressure toward Israel, the PA, and the international community,” the officer said.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian Authority

Yasir Arafat’s Decades-Long Alliance with Iran and Its Consequences for Both Palestinians and Iranians

Jan. 18 2019

In 2002—at the height of the second intifada—the Israeli navy intercepted the Karina A, a Lebanese vessel carrying 50 tons of Iranian arms to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). But Yasir Arafat’s relationship with the Islamic Republic goes much farther back, to before its founding in 1979. The terrorist leader had forged ties with followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that grew especially strong in the years when Lebanon became a base of operations both for Iranian opponents of the shah and for the PLO itself. Tony Badran writes:

The relationship between the Iranian revolutionary factions and the Palestinians began in the late 1960s, in parallel with Arafat’s own rise in preeminence within the PLO. . . . [D]uring the 1970s, Lebanon became the site where the major part of the Iranian revolutionaries’ encounter with the Palestinians played out. . . .

The number of guerrillas that trained in Lebanon with the Palestinians was not particularly large. But the Iranian cadres in Lebanon learned useful skills and procured weapons and equipment, which they smuggled back into Iran. . . . The PLO established close working ties with the Khomeinist faction. . . . [W]orking [especially] closely with the PLO [was] Mohammad Montazeri, son of the senior cleric Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri and a militant who had a leading role in developing the idea of establishing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) once the revolution was won.

The Lebanese terrorist and PLO operative Anis Naccache, who coordinated with [the] Iranian revolutionaries, . . . takes personal credit for the idea. Naccache claims that Jalaleddin Farsi, [a leading Iranian revolutionary], approached him specifically and asked him directly to draft the plan to form the main pillar of the Khomeinist regime. The formation of the IRGC may well be the greatest single contribution that the PLO made to the Iranian revolution. . . .

Arafat’s fantasy of pulling the strings and balancing the Iranians and the Arabs in a grand anti-Israel camp of regional states never stood much of a chance. However, his wish to see Iran back the Palestinian armed struggle is now a fact, as Tehran has effectively become the principal, if not the only, sponsor of the Palestinian military option though its direct sponsorship of Islamic Jihad and its sustaining strategic and organizational ties with Hamas. By forging ties with the Khomeinists, Arafat unwittingly helped to achieve the very opposite of his dream. Iran has turned [two] Palestinian factions into its proxies, and the PLO has been relegated to the regional sidelines.

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More about: Hamas, History & Ideas, Iran, Lebanon, PLO, Yasir Arafat