United Against Israel

Iran is looking to make the plight of the Palestinians a pan-Islamic cause—and to crown itself king over the effort.

“The Islamic world will not let its historic enemy live in its heartland.” These were Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s words last October when he declared that Israel should be “wiped off the map” (Telegraph, Oct. 27, 2005).

In case anybody thought Ahmadinejad didn’t really mean those statements, he has reiterated them several times since. In one such instance, during a live speech broadcast on Iranian television in December, the Iranian president described the Holocaust as a “myth.”

Some feel that the president’s stance doesn’t truly reflect the official position of his country—or even that of its clerical leadership. Commentators talk about Iran’s clerical establishment getting more than it bargained for in Ahmadinejad, and the “pragmatic conservative” camp disagreeing with the confrontational approach of the president.

It is true that as Ahmadinejad rages against Israel, other Iranian politicians wheel and deal behind the scenes to secure Iran’s rights to a nuclear program and enhance its position in the region. But, as Stratfor stated, “The blend of these two approaches—inflammatory remarks by the new and relatively inexperienced president, coupled with sophisticated backdoor negotiations by less public but more seasoned hands—is an example of Tehran’s preferred method of power politics” (Dec. 14, 2005; emphasis ours).

Statements coming from all Iranian camps—the radical president, the pragmatic conservatives, the clerical leadership—clearly demonstrate their solidarity, particularly over the question of Israel.

The Jewish state, for obvious reasons—its proximity and the fact that it is the target—takes Iran’s threats quite seriously. It also has the military capability—if not the will—to do something about those threats. Israel has responded by making thinly veiled threats to take military action against Iran’s nuclear sites.

However, Iran has another weapon in its political arsenal enabling it to more or less blackmail the Jews: its Palestinian proxies.

Hezbollah is the Lebanon-based terrorist organization that is armed, financed and ideologically motivated by Iran; Hamas is a Palestinian terrorist organization also largely supported and funded by Iran. Iran has strong influence over other Palestinian terrorist organizations as well. Iran uses these terrorist groups as agents to fight against Israel.

As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has written, “The real power behind the Palestinians is Iran. No other nation would dare finance and blatantly encourage such terrorism in Israel” (The King of the South).

A clear demonstration of this reality came in November, when Iran’s foreign minister met with leading figures from Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad “to coordinate a united front against Israel” (Sunday Times, Dec. 11, 2005). The result? A week later, Hezbollah fired a cascade of rockets and mortars at Israeli targets, initiating the fiercest fighting between the two sides since Israel withdrew from Lebanon five years ago.

Clearly, Iran has the capability and the will to pressure the Israelis using these terrorist organizations. With a Hezbollah command center now established in the Israeli-vacated Gaza Strip, as Middle East Newsline reported Dec. 13, 2005, Iran will be in a better position than ever to squeeze Israel. “Hezbollah has set up a forward headquarters in the Gaza Strip to provide a direct link with terrorists in Judea and Samaria [West Bank] to transfer funds and instructions,” an Israeli government statement said. “Hezbollah conditions the receipt of such funds on the perpetration of terrorist acts against Israeli targets, regardless of the particular ideology of the cells and terrorists involved.”

So, after Israel recently hinted that it is prepared to use military means to halt Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran responded by stepping up its support for the Palestinians. From anti-Zionist conferences to high-level meetings with terrorist leaders, all Iranian factions have shown unity of purpose in their policy on Israel.

In December, Hamas’s leader, Khaled Mashal, visited Tehran for three days of talks with top political and security officials from across the political spectrum. The same day (Dec. 12, 2005) that Ahmadinejad was pooh-poohing the Holocaust at a Tehran conference on “Supporting the Islamic Revolution of Palestine,” two-time former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani—the pragmatic conservatives’ head—was encouraging Hamas’s leader. Rafsanjani offered continuing support in Hamas’s war against Israel, stating that “resistance” is the only option left for the Palestinians (Israelnn.com, Dec. 13, 2005).

As for the man who holds the ultimate power in Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, he told Hamas’s leader the following day: “The only way to guarantee the freedom and future of Palestine is to continue with the resistance …” (mehrnews.com, Dec. 13, 2005). He encouraged the Palestinians to continue their jihad.

The Palestinians are only too happy to provide Iran the leverage it seeks. In mid-December, the Hamas leader blatantly threatened Israel with increased terrorist attacks should any preemptive measures be taken against Iran. Mashal told reporters Hamas would “step up its war” against Israel if it attacked Iran’s nuclear facilities (Israelnn.com, Dec. 15, 2005).

Clearly, Palestinian and Iranian ambitions align perfectly.

In his meeting with Mashal, Khamenei stated, “Yesterday they withdrew from Lebanon, today they have been forced to leave Gaza, and, God willing, tomorrow the Palestinian people and groups will oust them from Beit-ul-Moqaddas [Jerusalem].” And herein lies Iran’s true motivation: to gain control of Jerusalem. (Visit theTrumpet.com to read our February 2005 article “The Precious Jewel of Iran’s Plan.”)

The Iranian president’s rants against Israel; the top-level meetings between Iran’s leadership and Palestinian terrorist organizations; Hezbollah’s expansion in the Gaza Strip—these all point to what the Bible prophesies: that a unified Iran will lead an Islamic power bloc in an effort to take over Jerusalem.