How Hezbollah Recruits Palestinian Terrorists

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
By Steven Emerson
Source: Algemeiner
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gestures as he addresses his supporters via a screen during the religious procession to mark the Shi’ite Ashura ceremony, in Beirut, Lebanon, Sept. 10, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Aziz Taher.

 

A lot of attention has been devoted to the Islamic State’s use of the Internet to inspire or direct international terrorist attacks. But little has been written about how Hezbollah uses similar approaches to recruit and execute attacks. A new study published this month in the CTC Sentinel explores this development by analyzing several cases of Hezbollah’s alleged social media efforts to recruit Israeli Arabs and Palestinians to kill Israelis.

From the end of 2015 through 2017, both the Islamic State and Hezbollah recruited terrorists outside their base countries using social media and encrypted communications platforms to help people form cells and conduct terrorist attacks abroad. Several high-profile Islamic State virtual plots were carried out successfully, killing people in Europe and beyond during this period. Hezbollah, on the other hand, has thus far failed to execute an attack using Palestinians recruited online. But foiled, covert plots still point to a major, yet poorly understood, terrorist threat to Israel. By hiding behind anti-Israel Facebook groups, Hezbollah can oversee plots from afar, at a limited cost to the organization.

The latest study compares and contrasts six publicly available cases of Palestinians recruited by Hezbollah handlers online. In each case, Hezbollah operatives develop ties with individual Palestinians through anti-Israel Facebook groups. After establishing a relationship, the Palestinian recruit is instructed to continue discussions over encrypted email and other communications platforms. The recruit is then asked to form cells with other trusted people in the West Bank. According to the analysis, all of the recruits and cell members were young men from across the West Bank between the ages of 18-32. The sole exception was 49-year-old Mustafa Ali Mahmoud Basharat — who did not make it very far in the planning process before Israel foiled that plot.

In most cases, Hezbollah used secure platforms to send instructions on how to build explosive devices. Palestinian recruits usually conducted surveillance of Israeli military targets, unless Israeli authorities disrupted the cell early on the planning process. Hezbollah’s instructions ranged from kidnapping Israelis, carrying out bombings, and conducting shooting attacks against Israeli military targets. In one case, a Hezbollah-led cell started to build explosives to use in a suicide bombing targeting an Israeli bus.

Beyond inspiration and direction, Hezbollah provided material support. The terrorist group promised, and often sent, large financial transfers to Palestinian recruits. Muhammad Zaghloul, for example, was promised $25,000 but only received $5,000 after Israeli authorities blocked part of the transfer. Zaghloul used the money to buy a sub-machine gun and ammunition after proposing to assassinate a senior IDF officer. Israeli authorities arrested the cell during the plot’s final stages in January 2016, as the cell was potentially en route to carry out the planned attacks. Later that year, another cell, led by Mustafa Hindi, acquired rifles and participated in target practice.

According to the analysis, some Hezbollah handlers hid their identities. But several plots were allegedly overseen by prominent Hezbollah figures including Jawad Nasrallah — son of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah — and Fa’iz Abu-Jadian, a well-known Hezbollah operative based in the Gaza Strip. Based on his involvement in recruiting Zaghloul, the US State Department designated Jawad Nasrallah in November 2018 as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT). Abu-Jadian, on the other hand, works for Hezbollah’s Unit 133 — a division specifically created in the early 2000s to facilitate Palestinian terrorism against Israel.

Since the mid-1990s, Hezbollah has been active in stoking violence against Israel from the Palestinian territories and helping Iran transfer money to Palestinian terrorist organizations. During the Second Intifada, Iran tasked arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyeh with strengthening Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Coordination between Hamas and Hezbollah helped Palestinian terrorists execute the deadliest attack against Israelis during the Intifada: a 2002 suicide bombing at the Park Hotel during a Passover holiday gathering which killed 30 people and wounded 140. After several setbacks, however, Unit 133 gradually oriented its attention toward virtual recruitment campaigns.

There are likely more cases of Hezbollah’s “virtual entrepreneurs” that Israel has not released. But the drop in open-source reporting on this development after 2017 points to several potential explanations outlined in the CTC Sentinel study. Israel’s ability to thwart each plot may have discouraged Hezbollah’s efforts to continue recruiting operatives online. The terrorist group appears to be prioritizing other fronts lately, including in-person recruitment among networks on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. Prospective terrorists in the West Bank may also be less inclined to seek ties with Hezbollah, as the popular violent uprising plaguing Israel since September 2015 largely came to a close in mid-2016.

But the overall threat from online recruitment has not gone away. Hezbollah’s main benefactor, Iran, may be taking the lead in recruiting Palestinians online to conduct intelligence and terrorist attacks against Israeli targets. One 2018 plot involved Iranian intelligence personnel, based in South Africa, seeking to cultivate a terrorist cell in the West Bank. In July, an Iranian-directed scheme in Syria sought to recruit Palestinians using fake Facebook profiles before moving on to encrypted communications platforms.

The Palestinian Authority is similarly concerned by these developments. Hezbollah front groups in the West Bank facilitate trips for young Palestinians abroad to meet with Iranian and Hezbollah members. As Hezbollah and Iran strengthen their presence in Lebanon and war-torn Syria, the Islamic Republic and its main Shia partner continue to look for additional ways to strike Israel covertly.

Steven Emerson is considered one of the leading authorities on Islamic extremist networks, financing, and operations. He serves as the Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, a non-profit organization that serves as one of the world’s largest storehouses of archival data and intelligence on Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorist groups.

Iran gave $16 billion to militias in Iraq and Syria

U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Brian Hook speaks at the announcement of the creation of the Iran Action Group in the Press Briefing Room, at the Department of State

 

U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Brian Hook speaks at the announcement of the creation of the Iran Action Group in the Press Briefing Room, at the Department of State
U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Brian Hook speaks at the announcement of the creation of the Iran Action Group in the Press Briefing Room, at the Department of State, August 16, 2018. (U.S. State Department/Flickr)
Source: American Military News

 

Iran has spent $16 billion on “militias” to prop up the Assad regime in Syria and surrounding regions, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV on Thursday.

Hook did not specify the time period Iran spent that $16 billion in the interview, according to The Times of Israel, but one report by the State Department from December 2018 shows that it could have begun in 2012.

Washington will continue imposing sanctions on Tehran, noting that they were a result of “destabilizing behavior in the region,” Hook confirmed in the interview.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote in a letter in the report that it “is important for the world to know that Iran trained and deployed Shia fighters from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to help Assad crack down on innocent civilians in Syria.”

The report goes on to state that “Iran also provides up to $100 million annually in combined support to Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas, PIJ, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. These terrorist groups have been behind a number of deadly attacks originating from Gaza, the West Bank, Syria and Lebanon, including attacks against Israeli civilians, Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula, and American citizens.”

Recently, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the construction of state-of-the-art weaponry for the country’s paramilitary fighting force, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

“Today, the IRGC is dignified both inside and outside the country, thanks be to god. The enemies have contributed to creating this dignity,” Khamenei said. “With violent, aggressive, and hostile behavior, the Americans increased the dignity of the IRGC. The enemies of god show hostility to God’s servants, and this hostility makes God’s servants more reputable and estimable.”

“You must have all necessary defense, operational and intelligence equipment. However, these instruments must be manufactured and developed at home and meet all the needs of the country on the ground, in the sky and space as well as at sea and borders. Even the cyberspace is among the necessary instruments,” he also said.

Additionally, Israeli leaders claimed that Iran secretly built a nuclear weapons site, saying “they destroyed the site when they realized we discovered it.”

“Israel has exposed another Iranian violation of their international commitments: the Abadeh Nuclear Weapons Development Site,” Israeli embassy spokesman Elad Strohmayer wrote in a series of tweets. “We have proof that #Iran conducted experiments to develop nuclear weapons there.”

Iran is frequently accused of attempting to obtain or develop a nuclear weapon, and officials in Israel, which currently has anywhere from 80 to 400 nuclear weapons, fear the hostile nation is close to doing so.

Iran recently increased its stockpile of heavy water, which is used at its nuclear reactor in Arak, above 130 tonnes, which is above the limit established in a previous nuclear agreement, and increased its reserve of enriched uranium above 300 kilograms, which is also above agreed limits.

Delegation of senior Hamas officials arrives in Tehran

Terror group leader Ismail Haniyeh says mission will last a few days, expects ‘important results,’ stays mum on specific goals

 

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh speaks during a meeting with foreign reporters in Gaza City on June 20, 2019 (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Saturday that a delegation of senior officials from the terror group had arrived in Tehran for a visit.

Haniyeh was mum about the purpose of the mission. The delegation was headed by the leader of the group’s military wing in the West Bank, Saleh al-Arouri, the Maariv news site reported.

“The visit will go on for a few days. We’re expecting important results,” Haniyeh said.

Iran is a backer of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas terror group’s armed wing, and the al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s military branch.

According to the London-based publication Middle East Monitor, described as a pro-Hamas outlet by the BBC, a Hamas delegation met with Iranian officials in Beirut on Friday at the Iranian embassy.

The delegation, which according to the report includes Hamas’ Lebanon representative Ahmed Abdel Hadi, met with the special aide to the President of the Iranian Shura Council, Hossein Amirabdollahian, and briefed him on “the latest developments” and reactions to the US peace plan.

Last month, Washington unveiled the details of the economic aspect of the US peace plan, dubbed “the deal of the century,” saying it would inject $50 billion into struggling economies in the Middle East over the next ten years.

The plan was unveiled in Bahrain in June by White House adviser Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, who hailed it as a “success.”

The proposal — which aims in 10 years to create a million new jobs, slashing unemployment and improving living standards in the West Bank, Gaza and across the Middle East — has been rejected by Palestinians because it does not include a framework for resolving their conflict with Israel. US officials say the political portion of the plan addressing the longstanding thorny issues may not be released until fall.

The summit was boycotted by the Palestinian Authority and thus did not include any official Palestinian delegation. Hamas, vowed to Israel’s destruction, accused Kushner of becoming a “spokesman for the Israeli occupation.”

On Saturday, Haniyeh said Hamas did not oppose establishing a temporary Palestinian state based on 1967 borders but maintained the group’s view that Israel’s control over any lands was illegitimate. He made the comments to a group of Turkish reporters, the Ynet news site reported.

On Friday, several thousand Palestinians gathered near the Hamas-run Gaza Strip’s border with Israel to take part in weekly protests near the fence.

Some 6,000 people reportedly took part in the demonstrations. The Israeli army said some rioters hurled rocks and explosive devices at the border fence and that troops were responding with less-lethal means as well as live fire in several cases where suspects attempted to sabotage or break through the border.

A Palestinian protester hurls rocks at an Israeli army vehicle during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces across the barbed-wire fence during a border demonstration near Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on July 19, 2019. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said over 100 people had been injured in the demonstrations, around half of whom were hit by live fire. Also hurt were four paramedics and two reporters, the ministry said.

Channel 12 news reported that an Israel Defense Forces vehicle was hit by a bullet during the demonstrations, but no one was hurt.

Egyptian security officials had held talks with Palestinian leaders in recent days, in part to prevent a new flare-up of tensions between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Fresh tensions were feared last weekend after Israel shot dead a Hamas field commander along the border, prompting the Islamist terror organization to vow revenge.

Israel later signaled it had fired in error, saying an initial inquiry showed the Hamas member, Mahmoud Ahmad Sabri al-Adham, had been erroneously identified by soldiers as an armed terrorist, but was apparently an operative trying to stop Palestinian youths from breaching the security fence.

Under the fragile ceasefire brokered by Egyptian and UN officials following a severe flare up in May, Israel is meant to ease aspects of its blockade on the coastal enclave in exchange for relative calm. Israel maintains that the blockade is necessary to prevent arms from entering Gaza that could be used in attacks against it.

Supporters of Hamas attend a rally marking the terror group’s founding in Gaza City on December 14, 2015. (Emad Nassar/Flash90)

Al-Adham’s death threatened to spark another round of large-scale violence between Israel and terror groups in Gaza. Throughout the past year and a half, the two sides have fought several bouts — with terror groups firing mortar shells, rockets and missiles at Israeli cities and towns, and the IDF retaliating with airstrikes — often sparked by smaller incidents along the border.

Last week at the protests a senior Hamas official called for members of the Palestinian diaspora to kill Jews around the world, but was forced to walk back his comments as the terrorist group distanced itself from his remarks.

Fathi Hammad, a Hamas politburo member considered a hardliner and known for his fiery rhetoric, said: “We must attack every Jew on the globe by way of slaughter and killing.”

His comments were condemned by PA and UN officials as well as by leaders of his own group.

 

Spotlight on Iran

By Dr. Raz Zimmt
Source: The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center At the Israeli Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center

May 19, 2019 – June 2, 2019

Overview
  • On May 31, Iranian cities witnessed rallies on the occasion of International Quds Day, a day marked since the Islamic Revolution (1979) on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan. Adhering to Tehran’s guidance, the Quds Day events this year turned into a show of opposition to the peace plan of President Trump (“Deal of the Century.”)
  • Iraqi security officials reported that the U.S. assesses that the Katyusha rocket firing toward the Green Zone housing the U.S. embassy in Baghdad (May 19) was carried by one of two Shi’ite Iraqi militias supported by Iran. The firing of the rocket may be another manifestation of Iran’s efforts to act against the United States and its allies in the region through covert, low-signature activities utilizing proxies. Meanwhile, the Iranian minister of foreign affairs visited Baghdad and met senior Iraqi officials, against the backdrop of growing tensions between the United States and Iran, and Iraqi attempts to mediate between the two countries.
  • Iranian activity to establish infrastructure in Syria and Iraq: Iran began developing a border crossing between Iraq and Syria near the official Albu Kamal border crossing, which is currently not operational. According to an intelligence published by the ISI intelligence company, the infrastructure established by Iran is supposed to serve as a conduit for movement of armed personnel, vehicles and materiel. Meanwhile, the Iranian government approved launching the project of laying down a railway from Shalamche in western Iran to Basra in southern Iraq. The works on the railway, regarding which Iraq and Iran reached an agreement during President Rouhani’s visit to Baghdad in March 2019, are expected to start in the coming weeks and last for two years.
Iranian Involvement in Syria
  • The American TV channel Fox News reported (May 23) based on Western intelligence sources, that Iran is laying the groundwork for a border crossing linking Iraq and Syria, possibly as a preparation for an alternative new border crossing under the control of Shi’ite militias operating under the guidance of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). In satellite images taken by the intelligence company ImageSat International (ISI), the construction of a border crossing linking Albu Kamal and al-Qaem can be seen. This is an area under the control of Shi’ite militias, about two kilometers away from the official border crossing between Syria and Iraq in Albu Kamal, a crossing that is currently not operational. The Shi’ite militias cleared an axis bypassing the official crossing, which traverses the line of fortification separating Iraq and Syria. This axis leads directly into a closed compound, which was targeted last June by jets, a site known to function as the headquarters of the Shi’ite militias in the region. According to the intelligence report produced by ISIS, the new infrastructure appears to be the groundwork for a new border crossing that will serve as a supply route for the movement of personnel, vehicles and materiel.
The new compound constructed in the Albu Kamal crossing area (ImageSat International [ISI], May 19, 2019)
  • In 2018, Iran entrenched its control over the Albu Kamal border crossing area through the use of Shi’ite forces operating under its guidance. Iran perceives the crossing to be strategically important, since the ground line of supply connecting Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon passes through it. The ground axis may allow Iran to reduce its dependence on the aerial supply route from Tehran to Damascus, expand and entrench its presence in Syria, and facilitate the movement of material and armed cadres to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Shi’ite militias in Syria.
Iranian Involvement in Iraq
  • On May 19, a Katyusha rocket exploded near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. A spokesman for the Iraqi security forces stated that the rocket landed near the unknown soldier statue, less than 1.5 kilometers (one mile) from the U.S. embassy and did not result in any casualties. He stated that the military is investigating the incident and assessed that the rocket was fired from southern Baghdad, an area in which pro-Iranian Shi’ite militias are operating (Reuters, May 19). The launch of the rocket may be another manifestation of the increasingly confrontational approach Iran has adopted against the United States through covert activities and utilizing proxy groups, in light of increasing U.S. pressure on Iran.
  • The pan-Arab daily al-Sharq al-Awsat reported (May 26) based on Iraqi security officials, that the U.S. suspects that the rocket launch toward the compound housing the U.S. embassy was carried out by one of two Shi’ite militias backed by Iran: The Sayyed al-Shuhada’ Brigades or Imam Ali Brigades. According to this report, the Americans informed the Iraqi government that the U.S. may arrest members of these militias if they are indeed found to have been involved in launching the Katusha.
  • The Iranian government approved the launch of the project to lay 32 kilometers (20 miles) of railway connecting Shalamche in western Iran to Basra in southern Iraq. The works on the railway are expected to start in the coming weeks. “The Foundation of the Oppressed [Mostazafan],” which is considered the largest charity fund in Iran, will act as the contractor executing the project and will finance 60% of its expenses. The rest of the expenses will be paid by the Iranian ministry of transportation. The railway, whose construction has been delayed for the past eight years, is expected to serve, in its initial stage, mainly the Iranian pilgrims reaching Karbala in Iraq each year. In the next stage, the railway is supposed to connect Iran through Iraq to the Lattakia port in Syria, mainly for the purpose of transferring goods. The completion of the first stage of the project is expected to take two years (Fars, May 25). The memorandum of understanding concerning the railway was signed in March 2019 between Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, and the Iraqi Prime Minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, during Rouhani’s visit to Baghdad.
  • On May 25, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, arrived for a two-day visit in Iraq during which he met senior Iraqi officials, chief among them the Prime Minister of Iraq, Adel Abdul Mahdi; the Iraqi President, Barham Salih; the Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Muhammad Ali al-Hakim; and the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Muhammad al-Halbousi. Zarif also visited the holy Shi’ite shrines in Najaf and Karbala. Zarif’s visit took place amidst rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran. In a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart, Zarif stated that he held productive talks with his Iraqi colleague on regional affairs and that Iran seeks to maintain balanced relations with all the countries of the Persian Gulf. He offered the countries of the Gulf to sign a non-aggression treaty with Iran. At the joint presser, the Iraqi minister of foreign affairs stated that the purpose of Zarif’s visit was to advance the implementation of recent understandings reached between the two countries with regards to border issues, establishing joint industrial zones and laying the railway connecting western Iran and southern Iraq, as well as to discuss regional and international development. He remarked that Iraq opposes U.S. sanctions against Iran and hopes to serve as a mediator between Tehran and Washington (Fars, May 26).
Iranian and Iraqi foreign ministers in Baghdad (Fars, May 26, 2019)
Iranian Involvement in the Palestinian Arena
  • On May 31, Iranian cities witnessed numerous International Quds Day processions, marked since 1979 on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan, intended to express the support of Iran and the Muslim world for the Palestinians and the ‘liberation of Jerusalem.’ On the eve of Quds Day, Iran moved to turn the day into a show of opposition to the peace plan of President Trump known as the ‘deal of the century.’
  • In a statement concluding the day’s events, the organizers stated that liberating Jerusalem “from the fangs of the Zionist occupiers” and the effort to eradicate “the cancerous tumor that is Israel” are the central efforts of the Muslim world. The statement condemned the “Deal of the Century” and the “reactionary” leaders of some Arab states that seek to normalize relations with “the regime of the fake country occupying Jerusalem.” The statement also argued that the only way to solve the question of Palestine is through intifada and resistance to the “global front of infidels” led by “the great Satan” (the United States), and refusal of any compromise and surrender until the eradication of “the cancerous tumor that is Israel,” the return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland and holding a free referendum to among original inhabitants of Palestine regarding the fate of their land, through implementing the strategy of “Palestine from the river to the sea” (Tasnim, May 31).
International Quds Day rally in Tehran (Fars, May 31, 2019)
  • On the eve of Quds Day, held this year against the backdrop of U.S. intention to promote the ‘deal of the century’ and growing tensions between Iran and the United States, Iranian officials assailed the Palestinian peace plan and the intention of some Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to participate in the economic summit in Bahrain, set to be held at the end of June, and would be the first stage in the implementation of the American plan.
  • On the eve of Quds Day, the Spokesman of the IRGC, Ramazan Sharif, announced that the slogan of the Quds Day processions this year will be: “International Quds Day: the defeat of the Deal of the Century and stabilizing the Palestinian Question.” During a press conference on the occasion of Quds Day, Sharif, who also serves as the chairman of the Intifada and Jerusalem Department of the Coordinating Council of Islamic Propagation ,” stated that the Palestinians have moved from using rocks to using rockets and that the new Palestinian generation is more determined than the generation before it to struggle against Israel, further claiming that this is one of the accomplishment of Quds Day. He argued that due to Palestinian resistance, the Zionists are no longer able to carry out their military activities in Gaza easily, and are forced to retreat.
  • Sharif declared that Quds Day is a day of warning of the Islamic Ummah to some Arab countries, and particularly to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with regards to the “fictional summit” in Bahrain. These countries are forewarned to avoid trampling on the Palestine issue and the rights of the Palestinian people while they play in the court of the Americans and the “Zionist regime.” He added that the “deal of the century” is linked to additional steps of the Trump administration, including the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and its recognition as Israel’s capital, refusal to accept the return of Palestinian refugees, and talk of establishing an “alternative homeland” to the Palestinians in Jordan and the Sinai desert. The “deal of the century,” according to Sharif, is aimed solely at eliminating Palestine. The unified position of the Palestinians against the plan will lead to its demise, and that there are indications that an intifada will erupt in the West Bank, which raises the fears of the Zionists and the supporters of the “deal of the century.” This plan and any other step that does not guarantee the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people, and particularly the return of refugees and holding free elections to determine the fate of the Palestinians, will never be able to solve this big issue that concerns the Muslim world. The Islamic ummah will prove on Quds Day that the Palestinian question is alive and well, and that the “deal of the century,” whose only goal is to completely erase Palestine from the geography of the region and the Muslim world, will only lead to the failure and humiliation of those crafting the plan and supporting it.
  • Sharif warned that making decisions regarding Palestine without paying heed to the Palestinians will lead in the near future for a new massive intifada, and that the West Bank too will turn to the path of resistance. The “deal of the century” will only bolster the determination of the Palestinian to resist and fight the “plots of the enemies of al-Quds” and increase the motivation of citizens of the world to support Palestine (Tasmin, May 28).
The Spokesman of the IRGC, Ramazan Sharif (IRNA, May 28, 2019)
  • Ahead of Quds Day, 252 Iranian majlis members published a statement, expressing their support for the “Palestinian Resistance” and called on Iranian citizens to participate in marches that day. The majlis members emphasized in the statement their opposition to the peace plan of President Trump and declared that the U.S. must know that the “deal of the century,” the move of the embassy to Jerusalem, the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan and the listing of the IRGC as a terrorist group are failed attempts, which will join the dozens of previous failed plans by the United States concerning Palestine. The statement added that Saudi Arabia and other countries, including the UAE and Bahrain, need to know that establishing friendly relations with the “Zionist regime” casts “eternal shame” upon them, is clearly contrary to God’s edict and will inflame the hatred of the entire Islamic ummah against them. The “Zionist regime” must know that the countdown to its elimination has begun, and that its fate is destruction. The Resistance Front is stronger today that it has ever been in the past, the members of parliament argued. The majlis members emphasized Iran’s role under the leadership of Ali Khamenei in resisting the “plots” of the United States, the “Zionist regime” and its regional allies, chief among them being Saudi Arabia (Mehr, May 26).
  • The Speaker of the Majlis, Ali Larijani, also emphasized in his speech ahead of Quds Day the need to resist the American peace plan. Larijani strongly condemned the countries that intend to participate in the economic summit in Bahrain. He remarked that the American plan, which he labeled “treacherous and evil,” ignores even the handful of Palestinian rights recognized in previous peace plans, and aims to increase Israel’s control of the West Bank, recognize the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine and erase the rights of the Palestinians, who will be left without a say with regards to the fate of their land. Larijani emphasized that under the current conditions, there is particular importance in participating in Quds Day rallies, since marking the day serves as a “deafening cry” for the rights of the Palestinian people and support for it (Fars, May 26).