In the past two weeks, Palestinian Islamic Jihad has fired nearly 1,500 rockets into the Jewish state, killing one Israeli and five Palestinians. On Saturday, after a five-day IDF campaign, a ceasefire went into effect, which seems to be holding despite a few sporadic violations. Islamic Jihad operates under the direction of Iran—more so even than Hamas, which is also beholden to Tehran. Jonathan Schanzer suggests the most recent conflict might be connected to the Islamic Republic’s broader struggle with Israel:
Earlier this year, amid flaring tensions during the Ramadan holiday in April, Hamas brazenly shot more than 30 rockets at Israel, wounding three. The IDF fired artillery at the positions from which the rockets had flown, but stopped there. Admittedly, if Hamas’s goal was to draw Israel into a two-front war, it failed. . . . Days later, on April 9, the leaders of Hamas and Hizballah met in Beirut to discuss their joint strategy against Israel. They released photos depicting their conversations held beneath photos of the former Iranian supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini and the current supreme leader Ali Khamenei. The message was unmistakable: the Iran-led axis is preparing for a multifront war with Israel.
Releasing the photo was an audacious message to send to the Israelis, who have an impressive track record of removing threat actors from the battlefield. But the photo served a deeper purpose. It confirmed to Israel that the Iranian proxy threat has evolved. For several years, sporadic reports have pointed to the existence of a “nerve center” in Beirut. Participants include senior figures from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other groups. The nerve center is reportedly designed to coordinate the activities of the Iran-backed terrorist groups, to target Israel more efficiently.
According to data collected by Foundation for Defense of Democracies, more than 1,500 terrorist attacks have targeted Israelis in the West Bank and over the Green Line since March of last year alone.
Israeli security services believe that Iran (by way of Hizballah) is the primary source for the weapons flooding the West Bank. But there may be others. In April, a Jordanian parliamentarian was caught at the Allenby Bridge, between Jordan and the West Bank, with a jaw-dropping amount of weaponry along with more than $6 million in gold.