The Islamic Republic of Iran reportedly provided aid to Palestinian protesters demonstrating against new security measures at the Temple Mount last month.
The aid reportedly included boxes of food and drink, which came with a flyer attached depicting the Dome of the Rock and a quote attributed to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reading, “With the help of God, Palestine will be freed. Jerusalem is ours.”
While Palestinian media reported that the food packages were provided by an Iranian youth movement, a PA intelligence official said it was clear that the Iranian regime was behind the aid.
“It is clear to us that the regime in Tehran, by means of its long arms, is behind this catering operation,” the official told the Israel Hayom daily in an article published Tuesday.
“The sums come to millions of shekels and the Iranians found an opening to reap the benefits and send a message to the Palestinian public right under Israel’s nose that it is Iran that looks out for them. The flyer attached to all the food packages and the quotes of Khamenei make clear who is behind these food baskets.”
The flyer also showed Khamenei’s hand, pointing toward the Dome of the Rock. The hand was shown in mirror-image — appearing to be the Iranian leader’s right-hand, when it is in fact his left. (Khamenei’s right-arm was injured when he was badly hurt in a 1981 assassination attempt.)
— امیر طاها صالحی (@Taha_salehi20) July 29, 2017
Another Palestinian official told Israel Hayom that while the PA was aware of the Iranian effort, it did not notify Israel because of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to freeze security ties in protest of the security measures. Those were placed at the Temple Mount following a July 14 terror attack at the holy site, in which three Arab Israelis shot dead two police officers with weapons smuggled into the compound.
“In the territory under Palestinian control this would not happen,” he added. “We would not allow the Iranians a foothold like this, because this would come back at us like a boomerang with the reactions of Arab states.”
The Iranian involvement also angered PA higher-ups, with one unnamed official said to be close to Abbas telling the daily that it was a mistake to allow Iran to reach into the West Bank with its “tentacles.”
The Islamic Republic has long funded operations against Israel, often through its provision of money and arms to the Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups.
Iran has also made calling for Israel’s destruction and the “liberation” of Jerusalem central to its propaganda efforts. Its foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, was set to fly to Turkey on Tuesday for a Muslim conference on the latest developments in Jerusalem.
Israel removed last week all of the new security measures installed at the Temple Mount, and a PA official told The Times of Israel that security cooperation will gradually be restored as long as Muslim access to the holy site remains unrestricted.