IDF seizure of Gaza-bound missiles
sheds light on non-nuclear elements
of Iran’s strategy
By Alina Dain Sharon and Sean Savage/JNS.org
While international attention continues to focus on the Iranian nuclear program and diplomatic efforts to address it, the Israeli Navy’s March 5 interception of an Iranian ship full of Syrian-made missiles bound for Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza sheds new light on other dimensions of the Islamic Republic’s strategy...
According to the Israel Defense Forces, the weaponry on board the seized Iranian ship included dozens of M-302 missiles, which have a range of 100-200 kilometers (62-124 miles). The weapons were hidden inside cement containers. They were originally flown from Syria to Iran. From Iran, they were shipped by boat to Iraq. The shipment was intercepted as it was being moved by boat from Iraq to Sudan, from where the weapons would have been smuggled to Gaza...
Middle East media reports, meanwhile, reveal that Iran’s supplying of weapons to Palestinian terror groups such as Islamic Jihad is an open secret. Islamic Jihad leader Ramadhan Abdallah Shalah admitted to Al Jazeera in 2012 that “the weapons that are fighting the Israeli aggression and arrogance in Palestine come mainly from Iran, as the entire world knows.” ...
According to Itamar Marcus, the director of Palestinian Media Watch, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has not yet responded to the Iranian arms ship because of its complex relationship with Gaza-controlling Hamas.
“Whereas the PA instinctively will blame Israel for everything wrong in the world, including the revolutions and internal fighting in the Arab world today, because the PA sees its greatest enemy in the world not as Israel—but as Hamas—Iran being caught trying to arm Hamas militarily leaves the PA unable to respond. The world sees Hamas being armed and Israel’s concern. The PA sees Hamas being armed and worries about itself,” Marcus told JNS.org.
“Now [Palestinian media outlets] have the dilemma. Do they criticize Iran for arming their enemy Hamas or criticize Israel for illegal piracy? Their silence so far is an indicator of their dilemma. If Iran continues in its denial that it was their arms and that it was intended for Gaza—the PA may eventually condemn Israel—as they can’t afford to alienate Hamas,” Marcus added.