Situation Report: Tehran and Ankara voice support for role of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in surge of violence against Israel

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Hamas’ leader Ismail Haniyeh praised the actions of the Gaza-ruling terror group hours after Israeli civilian targets were bombarded with over 600 rocket attacks in one evening. In a live speech late on May 11, Haniyeh lauded the Gaza militants who have “defended Jerusalem.”

Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic extremist organization in control of the governance of the Gaza Strip, is regarded as terrorist organization by the United States and Israel. Hamas explicitly calls for theeradication of Israel and has carried out terror attacks targeting densely populated Israeli cities since the 1990s.

Iran, a longtime financial supporter of anti-Israel terror groups including Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, immediately blamed Israel for the escalation of violence. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei used inflammatory language in a series of tweets published on May 11, encouraging Palestinian militants on the ground to continue to escalate their violence against the Jewish people.

“(Palestinians) must continue this path. One can only talk with the language of power with these criminals. They must increase their strength, stand strong, confront the enemy, and force them to stop their crimes.”

Turkish officials also took to social media to blame Israel for the recent uptick in violence. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking regional and international support as “they (Turkey) would do everything in its power to mobilize the entire world, first and foremost the Islamic World” to aid the Palestinians, according to a statement released by the Turkish Presidency’s communication director.

A Turkish foreign ministry statement condemned Israel for its use of airstrikes, adding that “The Israeli government must finally understand that it will not be able to suppress the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights and demands by using indiscriminate and disproportionate power.” 

The Turkish and Iranian officials that accuse Israel of bolstering the conflict through airstrikes deliberately distort the reality of the situation. Discord in East Jerusalem has been escalating for weeks due to a myriad of factors, including access to the Al Aqsa Mosque, property disputes in Sheikh Jarrah, and Hamas’ exploitation of Palestinian discontent with their political party after elections were canceled in early May.

Tensions only ballooned into a full-scale battle when Hamas fired six rockets in the Jerusalem area on May 10, for the first time since 2014. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated the attack on Jerusalem, the holiest city for the Jewish people, is a “red line.” The Prime Minister added that “Hamas and Islamic Jihad have paid and will pay a dear price.”

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad hold Israelis and Palestinians hostage in a cycle of terror. Ankara and Tehran’s rhetoric not only fuels misinformation but incites militants to escalate fighting and attacks against Jews.

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