What Is Iran Up to With the Israel-Hamas Ceasefire?
Last Friday, Israel and Hamas started a four-day cessation of hostilities. Despite minor violations on Hamas’s side (like dragging its feet with releasing some of its hostages), the pause for the most part seems to have held up. Fighting has stopped in the Gaza Strip and both sides have released their prisoners.
But with the pause, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have inadvertently brought peace to almost the entire Middle East. Hamas is sponsored by Iran. And almost every other Iranian proxy in the region has followed Hamas’s lead and ceased attacks against Israel and other Western targets.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (pij), a rival jihadist group in Gaza, also has quieted down. pij has clashed with Israel in the West Bank. The lack of armed clashes or rocket attacks of any kind from Gaza suggests pij is also adhering to the pause, at least in Gaza.
Israel’s northern border has also been relatively quiet. Before the war, Iranian terror proxy Hezbollah instigated frequent skirmishes with the Israel Defense Forces (idf) on the Lebanese border. Aside from some minor incidents on November 25, Hezbollah has almost completely halted attacks since the 24th.
What may be the truce’s biggest surprise is its effects in Iraq. Iran commands various Iraqi Shiite militias. Given Iraq’s distance, they haven’t been causing too much trouble for the Israelis. But they have been using Hamas’s war as an excuse to attack United States’ targets in the Middle East. Between October 18 and November 23, Iran’s Iraqi affiliates claimed 74 attacks on U.S. targets. Since November 24, the Shiite militias have not claimed a single attack.
Not every Iranian proxy is taking a rest. Yemen’s Houthi movement is still nipping at Israel and the U.S. where it can. But everything else quieting so fast on so many fronts suggests pan-jihadist coordination.
In other words, it indicates Iran told its proxies to stand down. At the very least, Iran gave its tacit consent.
The known details of the truce are that Israel would release three Palestinian Arab prisoners for every Israeli hostage Hamas releases. The specific agreement was a swap of 50 Israeli hostages for 150 Arab prisoners. The pause in fighting also gives time for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza and for civilians to flee the conflict zone. Israel and Hamas have agreed to extend the truce until November 30.
Most of the Arab prisoners released were incarcerated on terrorism-related charges. Some belong to Hamas and pij; many do not. A sizable number of them are younger than 20. The Palestinian prisoner release is a symbolic victory for Hamas. As far as we know, though, no big-name terrorists have been released. Iran isn’t getting anybody back that would be a game-changing asset in its war against Israel. Those who have been released will almost certainly be under constant monitoring by Israel’s security services. Hamas and Iran are getting little for the ceasefire beyond time to regroup.
Iran’s Middle East-wide muzzling of its proxies—including the Iraqi militias, which aren’t even fighting Israel—suggests it wanted this pause to happen. But why? Is it about helping Hamas out, or is there a wider objective? Who has what Iran wants? Israel, the United States, or somebody else?
These questions can’t be answered definitively at this point. The situation on the ground is constantly shifting, and more evidence may surface in the days to come. But Iran’s part in the pause demonstrates three key truths.
First, it shows that Iran is king of Islamic terror. On paper, the various jihadi groups stand for different goals. Some are even rivals. The main common denominator is that they are all bankrolled by Iran. There is no way almost all of them would agree to lay down arms in response to a local deal between Israel and Hamas unless Iran also agreed. When Iran speaks, Palestinians, Lebanese and Iraqis listen in their tens of thousands.
Second, this proves that Hamas’s war is Iran’s war. Iran claims to have had no part in directly organizing this specific war. More and more evidence is surfacing that contradicts this. Iran’s proxies being in lockstep with each other further suggests the nerve center of the jihadi war operation is not in Gaza City but Tehran.
Third, it demonstrates that Israel will not see an end to war at the hands of Islamist extremists so long as Iran and its proxy empire still stand. Hamas is but one tentacle of the Iranian monster. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has many more arms to attack Israel with. No matter how the Gaza war ends, Israel will still be in Khamenei’s cross hairs.
A prophecy in Daniel 11:40 says: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” The Book of Daniel was written for the end time (Daniel 12:4, 9). Daniel 11:40 has everything to do with what is going on in the Middle East right now.
The key to unlock its meaning is the identity of these kings of the north and south. Biblical and secular history show the “king of the north” to be a united European bloc. The other “king,” or empire, is located to the south of Europe. It has a “pushy,” provocative foreign policy. Daniel 11:42-43 show it commands a vast proxy empire throughout the Middle East and Africa. Verse 41 shows it will fight Europe for control over “the glorious land”: the land of Israel.
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in The King of the South:
The fruits and evidence of the past four decades overwhelmingly prove where the king of state-sponsored terrorism is! The terrorist movement flows from Iran. The whole world can see that. However, the solution to Iran’s terrorism lies in fighting it forcefully!
The King of the South was updated at the start of this year, but Mr. Flurry has been writing similar statements since it was first published in 1996. Back then, Iran had nowhere near the level of power it has today. The Hamas-Israel truce shows how far Iran has gone in becoming worldwide jihadism’s king.
To learn more, request a free copy of The King of the South.