Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Continue Praising Iran for Its Military and Financial Aid
Posters hung in the Gaza Strip, thanking Iran in four languages. The rocket launchers in the background symbolize Fajr-5 rockets (Qudsnet website, November 29, 2012).
1. After Operation Pillar of Defense, posters thanking Iran were hung at the main intersections in Gaza City. The PIJ's website reported that the objective was "to emphasize the important role played by Iran in the fighting by giving the Palestinian resistance [i.e., terrorist organizations] military and financial support." The posters were written in Arabic, Farsi, English and Hebrew on a background of rocket launchers symbolizing the Iranian-manufactured Fajr-5 rockets. According to the report, Fajr-5s were used for the first time during Operation Pillar of Defense to attack Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel's two largest cities (The PIJ's PalToday website, November 27, 2012).
Close-up of the poster (Qudsnet website, November 29, 2012).
2. No organization claimed responsibility for hanging the posters throughout Gaza City. However, a none-too-subtle hint as to their author was provided by senior PIJ operative Khader Habib, who told Reuters it was only natural to show gratitude to Iran after the fighting, because Iranian rockets had hit Tel Aviv and even reached Jerusalem. Therefore, he said, Gaza had to thank those who had helped the Palestinian people. He added that the PIJ had good relations with Iran, which would continue as long as Iran supported the Palestinian people and the "resistance" [i.e., the terrorist organizations] (Reuters, November 27, 2012).
3. Senior Hamas figures did not lag behind the PIJ in thanking Iran. Prominent was Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of Hamas Executive Committee, who in addition to thanking Iran for its military and financial support, emphasized Hamas' independence:
1) Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of Hamas' Executive Committee, said that he did not want to deny that Iran had given Hamas arms and money. He said that the money had been invested in developing the rockets which had longer ranges than the rockets given to them by Iran. He claimed Iran had never demanded anything of Hamas and that was why Hamas was willing to accept its support (Al-Aqsa TV, November 22, 2012).
2) On another occasion Mahmoud al-Zahar, speaking to operatives from Hamas' military-terrorist wing, said that some of the rockets had been manufactured in Iran. He said Iran supported Hamas with money and arms. He reiterated the claim that Iran had not asked for anything in return but only that the rockets be used "to liberate Palestine" (Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, November 24, 2012).
[*] Update No. 9 appeared in the weekly update "News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, November 21-27, 2012")
[**] Follow-up to Operation Pillar of Defense Update No. 6