PA warned Paris that Gaza border clashes financed by Iran — report

Palestinian ambassador to France reportedly said a month ago that Tehran 'is fully financing and pushing the Hamas demonstrations'

A Palestinian protester uses a slingshot to throw a stone towards Israeli forces as smoke billows from burning tires during a demonstration along the border with the Gaza strip east of Gaza city on June 1, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Mahmud Hams)

The Palestinian Authority informed the French government last month that Iran was financing and encouraging the weeks of violent protests along the Gaza border, Channel 10 reported Tuesday.

“Iran is fully financing and pushing the Hamas demonstrations,” Salman al-Harfi, the Palestinian ambassador to France, reportedly told a government official. “The PA has no choice but to support the demonstrations because so may of the participants are demonstrating against the economic situation.”

While the Ramallah-based PA does not support the Hamas-led protests, the Palestinian ambassador said it “does condemn Israel’s response, because most of the protesters are non-violent.”

Last week Iran agreed in principle to renew its funding for the Hamas terror group, according to a report published in a London-based Arabic daily.

The move reportedly sparked anger in Iran, which is experiencing an economic crisis and in recent days Iranian protesters have been throwing away charity boxes for the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation after a film showed it gave millions of dollars to Palestinians rather than direct the money to needy Iranians.

Despite reportedly being informed that Iran was funding the demonstrations, on Friday France was one of ten countries backing an Arab-backed UN Security Council draft resolution calling for protective measures for the Palestinians, which was vetoed by the United States.

The Kuwait-drafted text had called for “measures to guarantee the safety and protection” of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, and requested a UN report to propose an “international protection mechanism.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday met France’s President Emmanuel Macron as part of his European tour, amid deep differences over how to contain Iran’s ambitions in the Middle East.

Netanyahu held talks with Macron in Paris following his visit to Berlin, focusing on the international nuclear deal with Iran as well as how to push Iranian forces out of Syria.

In two months of mass protests at the Gaza border, some 110 Palestinians were killed and thousands wounded by Israeli military fire. Dozens of the fatalities were members of terror groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad acknowledged. Israel said its troops were defending its border and accused Hamas of trying to carry out attacks under the cover of the protests.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad also bombarded southern Israel with rockets and mortar shells last Tuesday, and Israel responded by striking targets throughout Gaza. Hamas said Wednesday it had agreed to a cease-fire with Israel.

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