The Iranian ambassador to Lebanon announced that Iran will give $7,000 to the families of Palestinian attackers who were killed by Israel, and $30,000 to Palestinian families whose houses were demolished by Israel. During the Second Intifada, Saddam Hussein, the former dictator of Iraq, provided Palestinian families of suicide bombers with tens of thousands of dollars, a policy the Bush administration castigated for rewarding and soliciting terror.
As a result of the nuclear deal it signed with world powers last July, Iran has received a financial windfall of $100 billion. Administration officials and Middle East experts have previously stated that Iran is likely to use some of the funds released as part of the deal to support terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. Yair Lapid, the leader of Israel’s centrist party Yesh Atid, explained, “For us, this is not theoretical. This money will translate itself to rockets aimed at our children. The next conflict in the North or South of Israel is just a matter of time.”
Furthermore, Iran has increased its presence in both Gaza and the West Bank, establishing a new proxy group called Al-Sabireen. The group is directly funded by Iran and has recruited 400 fighters in Gaza, fired rockets into Israel and clashed with Israeli forces at the border between Gaza and Israel. According to Arab-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, the group is also establishing terror cells in the West Bank. Last month, PA security forces arrested five of its members in Bethlehem. In another example of Iran’s efforts to infiltrate the Palestinian territories, Israeli security forces broke up a terrorist cell based in the West Bank and commanded and funded by Hezbollah. The terrorists, who were recruited by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah’s son, were planning to carry out suicide bombings and shooting attacks against Israelis.
Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog said during a tour of the West Bank city of Ariel on Tuesday that all major settlement blocs will remain part of Israel in any future peace deal with the Palestinians.
Herzog surprised political observers by advocating from unilateral withdrawal from much of the West Bank and agreeing with his rival, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that a two-state solution is not currently realistic. In Ariel, Herzog advocated building a fence around the settlement blocs which would serve as a limit on their growth but would also serve to protect them from possible terror attacks. “The fence around Ariel is not a luxury,” he said. “It’s a security obligation that the state owes its citizens.”
He reiterated his skepticism about the current prospects for peace. “If it isn’t possible today to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, it’s at least possible to separate the two peoples,” he said. “We have to create a boundary beyond which there is no construction, otherwise the conflict will only worsen.” (via TheTower.org)