Iran's Supreme Leader has praised the Islamic Jihad for “uniting Anti-Israeli Resistance” and “displaying the integrity of the Palestinian nation’s jihad.”
In response to a Thursday letter from Ziyad al-Nakhalah, Secretary General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement, Khamenei said on Friday that the group’s perseverance in its recent conflict with Israelhas elevated the its status among other Palestinian factionsand proven that “each segment of the Resistance block is able to rub the enemy's nose to the ground on its own.”
Palestinian militant groups and other Iranian allies and proxies are often referred to collectively as the “Resistance” in Iranian official’s jargon.
The Iranian leader also stressed the need for maintaining the unity of all Palestinian groups. “You by linking the fight in Gaza with the West Bank, and other forces of the Resistance with their support for the Jihad movement, have been able to demonstrate the solidarity of the Palestinian nation’s jihad to the malicious, deceptive enemy. Palestinian groups in all the Palestinian lands should direct all their efforts towards protecting this solidarity,” he added.
“The usurping enemy is becoming weaker, while Palestinian Resistance is becoming stronger,” he wrote.
The latest bout of violence has been the most serious flare-up between Israel and Gaza since an 11-day conflict in May 2021 that left more than 200 Palestinians and a dozen Israelis dead.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid last week called the Islamic Jihad an Iranian proxy that wants to destroy Israel, noting that Israel has a zero-tolerance policy for any attempted attacks from Gaza.
Ali Khamenei with Ziyad Nakhaleh of Islamic Jihad in Tehran. Undated
Khamenei had not commented about the Israeli-Palestinian issue while Tehran’s negotiators were trying to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal in Vienna.
In April, Khamenei’s adviser Ali Akbar Velayati called for closer ties between Tehran and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, designated a terrorist organization by the US, EU, and UK, during a meeting with the leader of the group Ziyad al-Nakhalah in Tehran last week.
In a letter to Iran's supreme leader earlier this week, Nakhalah highlighted the presence of Palestinian fighters throughout the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in a united front against Israeli forces.
“We dubbed the recent bout of violence ‘Wahda al-Sahat’ (Unity of the Arenas) to emphasize the unity of our nation against the enemy, which through all available means and conspiracies is trying to destroy it,” Nakhalah wroteabout the recent clashes between his group and Israeli forces.
“This battle frustrated the Zionist regime's appraisals to such a large extent that after just three days they were forced to ask for a ceasefire and to accept the terms set by the Resistance,” Nakhala wrote while boasting that Israel failed to divide Palestinian groups and all of them including Hamas approved of the Islamic jihad's stance and supported it.
However, the reality was that Hamas largely stood on the sidelines and hundreds of missiles first from Gaza were ineffective, while Islamic Jihad’s military leadership was wiped out by Israeli targeted strikes.
In his letter to Khamenei, Nakhala also lauded Iran's support as well as the role played by Iran's proxy, the Lebanese Hezbollah, and its leader Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah.
The Political Studies Bureau of the Iranian parliament’s Research Center in a new paper published Wednesday said that the 700 missiles fired at Israel from Gaza during the new round of conflict proves that any future “adventurism will be very costly” to Israel.