Since 2017, Iran has become Hamas’s leading supplier of funds and weapons; in addition, the second-largest military force in Gaza, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, functions as an Iranian proxy. Both of these groups are Sunni—unlike the Shiite militias Tehran has sponsored throughout the Middle East. But since 2012 the Islamic Republic has also cultivating another group, known as Sabireen, which is led by Shiites, is modeled on Hizballah, and has between 400 and 3,000 fighters. Noting that the Tehran has no doubt played a role in the recent outbreaks of anti-Israel violence, Danny Shoham explains what its interference in Gaza means going forward:
[W]hile Sabireen remains a murky movement, its very existence is a clear sign that Iran is not prepared to tolerate quiet in the Palestinian territories, even as Hamas and Fatah seek time and space to solidify their fragile unity arrangement. This is a strong indicator of Tehran’s broader goals in the Palestinian arena. Instead of heeding the will of the overwhelming majority of Palestinians, who support efforts to re-forge a national government [exercising authority over both Gaza and the West Bank] after years of fracture, Iran appears intent on pushing the Palestinians into conflict with Israel—or even with each other. . . .
Iranian conduct [over the past 35 years] exhibits a clear modus operandi. In line with that pattern of behavior, Iran has significantly strengthened its position in Gaza, possibly to the point that it is now a critical factor there. Tehran’s chief goal is in all likelihood to obstruct the broad efforts of Egypt and the UN to stabilize the [recent] ceasefire between Israel and Gaza and possibly expand the terms of the truce. Without Iranian interference, the situation in Gaza—indeed, in much of the Middle East—would be a great deal more promising. . . .
[For Israel], rooting out—entirely and for good—whatever Iranian presence exists in that area, or otherwise terminating its impact, while difficult, . . . is both vital and feasible.