April 13, 2023 | Flash Brief

Iran and Its Proxies Prepare to Mark Quds Day, Raising Tensions in Jerusalem

April 13, 2023 | Flash Brief

Iran and Its Proxies Prepare to Mark Quds Day, Raising Tensions in Jerusalem

Latest Developments

“Quds Day” (Jerusalem Day) is tomorrow, the last Friday of Ramadan. The Islamic Republic of Iran established this day of protest in 1979 to oppose Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem and to express solidarity with the Palestinian people.

This Quds Day comes amid heightened tensions in the city, which is holy to all three major monotheistic faiths. Confrontations between Israeli security forces and Palestinian youths rocked the city last week after the latter barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is widely viewed as the third-holiest mosque in Islam. When Israeli forces attempted to enter the mosque, the youths inside shot fireworks at them. The unrest was part of a broader Iranian strategy to use its proxies to attack or destabilize Israel on multiple fronts, including the West Bank, Lebanon, and Syria.

Israel has deployed additional border guards throughout the city in anticipation of possible unrest.

Expert Analysis

“Every year, the Islamic Republic in Iran mobilizes its proxies on Quds Day. This is an annual effort by the regime to wield the month of Ramadan for political and military aims. This year, the stakes are arguably higher. Israel has been dealing with violence perpetrated by Iranian proxies on multiple fronts, including Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank. This Quds Day could be the culmination of an Iranian plan to make this month of Ramadan a particularly violent one.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“Quds Day is a manufactured distraction from the brutal internal repression underway in the Islamic Republic, including the regime-backed poisonings of schoolgirls. While the mullahs pretend to care about Palestinians, they continue murdering and maiming their own people.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

Across the Middle East

Tehran and its proxies are promoting Quds Day across the region. The regime in Iran is pressuring its small Jewish community to join in anti-Israel events scheduled to take place in the country. The head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad is expected to speak at a rally in Baghdad. Violent Iran-backed Palestinian factions are coordinating their activities in Syria. In the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by the Iran-backed terrorist group Hamas, events are also being planned.. Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Tehran’s Lebanese proxy, the terrorist group Hezbollah, has called for wide participation in Quds Day activities across Lebanon.

Whether the Islamic Republic will deploy its proxies to attack Israel on Quds Day is yet to be seen. The Hezbollah-affiliated al-Mayadeen is claiming that Israel is on “high alert” in anticipation of violence.

Related Analysis

Iran Attacking Israel on Multiple Fronts,” FDD Flash Brief

Palestinian Rioters Attack Israeli Forces at al-Aqsa Mosque,” FDD Flash Brief

Chemical Attacks on Iranian Students,” by Saeed Ghasseminejad and Mark Dubowitz


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel