Israel Blames Iran for Latest Attacks
Israel is blaming Iran for sponsoring the most serious increase in rocket and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip since Operation Protective Edge in 2014. The Israel Defense Force (idf) reported that Gazan terrorists fired more than 70 mortars and rockets at Israel on May 29. Most were intercepted, but some landed in Israeli territory. One mortar shell fell in the courtyard of a kindergarten—no children were there at the time. According to the idf, the mortar shells used in the attack were manufactured by Iran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has openly denounced Iran for supporting the strikes. He said on May 30, “The Hamas regime, Islamic Jihad and the other terrorist organizations, inspired by Iran, are responsible for the escalation” (emphasis added throughout). He said Israel would respond aggressively to any new attacks, although the nation wants to maintain peace if possible.
After a five-year dispute over the Syrian civil war, Iran resumed its funding of Hamas last year. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said that Iran was “ready to put aside all disagreements [with Hamas] for the sake of supporting Palestine and the Palestinian people as well as the unity of the Muslim world.”
Hamas Gazan leader Yahya Sinwar has publicly admitted that Iran funds the group’s terrorist operations. According to the Times of Israel, Sinwar told reporters that Iran is “the largest backer financially and militarily” of Hamas. Hamas’s goal, which Iran supports, is “developing our military strength in order to liberate Palestine.”
The land they call “Palestine” is Israeli territory today. “Liberating Palestine” means removing what Iran calls “the Zionist regime” from the land Israel calls its own. Iran’s vision of a Palestinian state allows no room for Israel, despite what Palestinian Authority negotiators claim.
Gaza’s Islamic Jihad terrorist group, which Netanyahu singled out, is also Iranian-backed. Islamic Jihad “follows the ideology of Iran, is funded by Iran, and … used munition made by Iran,” the idf said. However, Israel holds Hamas especially responsible because it controls the government in the Gaza Strip.
Although Hamas and Iran belong to different sects of Islam, their goals in Israel are the same. Both want to wipe Israel off the map. Their relationship is strategically beneficial to both parties: Iran provides the funding and the weapons, while Hamas attacks and distracts Israel.
Yossi Kuperwasser, former director general of Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry, told the Jerusalem Post that “Iran doesn’t want stability” in the region. “They want to make everyone realize that they are a player, and that they should be taken very seriously with a lot of respect ….”
Iran’s rhetoric against Israel is no secret. Even its military parades are swathed with banners reading “Death to Israel.” Another favorite slogan is “Death to America,” especially after United States President Donald Trump’s internationally unpopular decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. When President Trump decided to terminate the nuclear deal, Iranian parliament members burned paper copies of the U.S. flag during a parliament meeting, shouting, “Death to America!”
Hamas stopped firing rockets early Wednesday morning, claiming it had agreed on a ceasefire with Israel. Israel denies any such ceasefire. Although the shelling has stopped, tensions are still running high. Both sides warn that they will respond aggressively if the other attacks. Because of the increase in violence, the U.S. called an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council this week. The UN, however, is unlikely to do anything to stop the attacks on Israel, since most of the unsc members are pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel.
In the meeting, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, told the Security Council that direct negotiations with the Palestinians are the only way to end the conflict. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas declared that the Palestinians are open to negotiation. But is negotiation really the way to lasting peace in the Middle East?
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in Jerusalem in Prophecy:
In 2005, Israel evacuated the 9,000 Jewish residents of the Gaza Strip and turned the area completely over to the Palestinians. With all Israeli military installations dismantled and troops gone, terrorists took the opportunity to flood the area from neighboring Egypt—and to bring their weapons along. They immediately began using the Strip as a launching ground for rocket attacks, which have continued at a steady pace ever since. In the summer of 2007, the radical terrorist group Hamas staged a violent coup and took over all of Gaza; this gave this terrorist proxy of Iran a toehold right on Israel’s doorstep. This is the dangerous result of Israel’s policy of trying to reconcile with the Palestinians by giving them things.
Historically, the land-for-peace idea has not worked. Israel gives up land, and the terrorists demand more. Earlier in the booklet, Mr. Flurry writes:
Throughout this terribly misnamed “peace” process—involving giving up land and seeing no appreciable drop in violence—Palestinian leaders have consistently told politicians and media that they want peaceful coexistence with Israel while simultaneously promising to their people Israel’s destruction.
Now, after years of gambling with its own soil, Israel finds itself depleted of property and will, sapped and bloodied by a policy that has publicized, for all to see, the fatal weariness of this tiny nation.
Negotiations won’t bring peace because Israel is surrounded by enemies who are bent on its destruction. The Bible calls this peace process Israel’s wound. It’s like putting Band-Aid on a gaping wound—it is a useless effort, in the end. The real issue, as Mr. Flurry points out, is that “the Jews have looked to men, often their enemies, for help—not God.”
Israel blames Iran for this latest round of aggression, and rightly so. Without Iran’s backing and support, terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad wouldn’t be able to do much against Israel. But with the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism backing them, they are able to endanger Israel’s existence.
If you’d like to learn more about Iran’s role in the recent events in the Gaza Strip, read “Israeli Intelligence: Iran Is Funding Hamas’s March of Return.” To learn more about what the Bible says about the Middle East peace process and Israel’s lifelong struggle with Iranian-backed terrorism, please read our free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy.