July 3, 2023 | Flash Brief

Iran Foments Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in Jenin

July 3, 2023 | Flash Brief

Iran Foments Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in Jenin

Latest Developments

Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanani accused Israel on July 3 of “state terrorism” following the launch of a major Israeli military operation in Jenin to weaken the presence of Iran-backed groups. Terrorist organizations such as Islamic Jihad and Hamas have been present in Jenin for more than two decades. However, they have lately received increased support from Iran to foment chaos in the territory.

On July 1, Islamic Jihad’s secretary-general, Ziyad al-Nakhaleh, acknowledged Iran’s role. “Undoubtedly,” he said, “we acknowledge that the Islamic Republic has provided assistance to the Palestinian resistance, including expertise, training and economic aid. There is also humanitarian aid to the families of the martyrs and the families of the prisoners.”

Expert Analysis

“Since the 2021 Gaza war, Israeli defense officials have been warning both privately and publicly that the Islamic Republic of Iran is arming, training, and financing several terrorist groups in the West Bank. There are further indications that the regime is providing these groups with guidance on tactics and strategy for moments such as this one when the IDF is operating on the ground. The Israelis have little choice but to carry out this operation if the goal is to mitigate Iran’s malign influence in the West Bank.” Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“Iran is adopting a tactic it has employed in various Middle East nations like Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq: equipping groups in regions where adequate governance and effective law enforcement are lacking to establish influence and destabilize the area.” Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal 

Signs of Iranian Support

Kanani’s accusations against Israel should not come as a surprise. A 2021 U.S. State Department report asserted that Hamas and Islamic Jihad receive “funding, training, weapons, and equipment” from Iran. The report estimated that Tehran provides up to $100 million annually in combined support to Palestinian terrorist organizations. In April 2023, Hossein Salami, commander-in-chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, suggested that Iran may be supporting West Bank terrorist groups. “Invisible hands have armed the West Bank, and you [now] see modern automatic rifles and automatic weapons in the hands of the Palestinians,” he said.

Al-Nakhaleh said in April 2023 that the “weapons that the Palestinians use for fighting come from Iran — the Iranians either pay for these weapons or provide them. This has been going on for 30 years. If I calculate all the money the Iranians have paid the Palestinians in these 30 years — it’s billions of dollars.”

A Palestinian Authority in Decline

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is experiencing declining popularity among Palestinians due to its arbitrary imprisoning of political opponents, financial instability, and corruption, among other factors. According to a March survey by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 73 percent of Palestinians believe it is time for President Mahmoud Abbas to resign. The regime in Tehran has recognized the PA’s condition as a valuable opportunity, thus increasing support to armed terrorist organizations to further destabilize the West Bank and hasten the possible collapse of the PA.

Mapping Terrorism in the West Bank,” by Joe Truzman

IDF Conducts Major Operation Against Terrorists in Jenin,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Kills Three Palestinian Terrorists in Rare West Bank Drone Strike,” FDD Flash Brief


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Palestinian Politics