Iran pledges thousands of dollars for Palestinian terrorists
Tehran, flush with cash from sanctions relief, will give slain attackers’ families $7,000, envoy says, and $30,000 to terrorists’ families whose homes Israel demolishes
Raoul Wootliff is the Times of Israel's former political correspondent and producer of the Daily Briefing podcast.
Iran will pay thousands of dollars to families of Palestinian terrorists killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis, Tehran’s ambassador to Lebanon said Wednesday.
Mohammad Fateh Ali said Tehran will give $7,000 to families of “martyrs of the intifada in occupied Jerusalem” and a further “$30,000 to every family whose home the occupation has demolished for the participation of one of its sons,” according to local news reports.
Twenty-nine Israelis and three non-Israelis have been killed in a wave of Palestinian terrorist attacks and violence since October, during which over 170 Palestinians have also been killed, some two-thirds of them while attacking Israelis, and the rest during clashes with troops, according to the Israeli army.
Jerusalem slammed the announcement of Iranian financial aid to terrorists, saying it was another example of Iran’s continued aggression towards Israel.
“This is further proof of Iran’s deep involvement in support for anti-Israeli terrorism,” read a Foreign Ministry statement. “After the [nuclear] agreement with world powers, Iran has allowed itself to continue as a major player in international terrorism.”
Israeli officials frequently warned that the lifting of sanctions on Iran would free up billions of dollars that Tehran could funnel into funding terror activities.
Israel’s Channel 2 reported Wednesday that Hamas officials met recently in Tehran with Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Al-Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, and discussed Iranian funding for the terror group. He said he “kissed the foreheads” of all those thousands engaged in anti-Israel activities, the TV report said.
Tehran reportedly upped financial support to Hamas, the Gaza-based terror group, after signing of the nuclear deal with Western powers last July.
The historic agreement gave Tehran access to an estimated $100 billion dollars in frozen money and opened up the country’s economy, long hampered by sanctions, to international business.
Ali’s statements were made at a press conference attended by Hamas officials, who reportedly praised the initiative and thanked Iran for its support. However, Ali seemed to open up the terror incentives to all Palestinians, not just Hamas members.
Earlier in the day, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned that Iran was paying for and readying sleeper cells to attack targets in Israel, the US and Europe.
Earlier in the year, a Hamas official was quoted saying that Iran had stopped funding the group, a claim Tehran denied, saying it always supported Palestinian resistance.
Iran’s backing of the Gaza-based terror group has been a point of contention for the rival Palestinian Authority. In January the Palestinian Authority ambassador to Riyadh said the PA would back Saudi Arabia over Iran in an ongoing political row, due to Tehran’s support of Hamas.
“The Iranian government doesn’t support the Palestinian Authority, which is at the forefront of confronting the Israeli enemy,” Basem al-Agha told the London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al-Agha went on to say that “the Palestinians have suffered from Iran’s actions and strange behaviors, which aim to undermine the legitimate Palestinian powers and to create ‘conglomerates’ against these legitimate powers.”
In November, near the beginning of the current wave of terror attacks, Khameini accused Israel of perpetrating “the worst kind of terrorism for the last 60 years,” noting that it was far more “barbaric” than the Paris terror attacks two weeks ago by Islamic State militants that killed 129.
In a letter addressed to Western youth in the wake of terror attacks in Paris, the supreme leader said there was no violence as “atrocious” as Israeli settlement construction.
“The oppressed people of Palestine have experienced the worst kind of terrorism for the last sixty years,” he wrote. “If the people of Europe have now taken refuge in their homes for a few days and refrain from being present in busy places it is decades that a Palestinian family is not secure even in its own home from the Zionist regime’s death and destruction machinery.
The supreme leader also accused the Jewish state of “state terrorism,” and charged that Jerusalem “every day” demolishes Palestinian homes.
Israel demolishes the homes of Palestinians who allegedly carry out attacks, which it claims as a deterrent measure.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.