These remarks by Israeli premier at the Knesset are part of a psychological warfare waged by Benjamin Netanyahu and the US to pile up pressure on Iran. These hysteric comments might convince the public opinion in Israel but it will pose challenges to many governments in the Middle East.
Under pressure from Salafi groups, the Cairo University recently banned the screening of the Oscar-winning Iranian film “A Separation”, under the unbelievable claim that the film spreads Shiism!
The so-called Axis of Moderate Arab states, formed since the presidency of George W. Bush, have shifted their hostility from Israel to Iran and seek to spread the propaganda that Iran poses a greater threat to them than Israel does. To these Arab countries, Iran, which the West accuses of seeking to obtain nuclear bombs, is more dangerous than Israel with an actual nuclear bomb. These Arab countries accuse Iran of seeking to spread Shiism in the Arab world.
The warning by the Jordanian King about the formation of a Shia Crescent is still popular among certain Arab governments, groups and individuals who seek to strengthen Salafism against moderate Islam.
The growing influence of Salafi parties in Egypt and their place in Egypt’s parliament as the second most powerful political group are all part of efforts by the so-called Axis of Moderate Arab states to weaken Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and other countries, where Islamic groups are candidates for assuming political power.
The Hamas movement or Palestine’s Muslim Brotherhood is a completely Sunni movement. Shia Muslims do not live in the Historic Palestine. According to certain unconfirmed sources, a number of Palestinians have developed a tendency to the Shiism but they are so few to affect the Sunni majority in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli prime minister - in a pretext to justify a recent strike on Gaza which killed 26 Palestinians -- accused Iran with providing Hamas with arms and financial and training aid and even claimed that Iran had ordered Hamas to carry out military and political attacks. In fact, it made the regime’s secret allies in the axis of moderate Arab states to find an answer to the difficult question of how Iran is extending an all-out support to Sunni Hamas movement.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has recently announced that Tehran supports any group which fights against Israel. The aid is part of Iran's strategy in the Middle East and has nothing to do with Tehran’s nuclear energy program because such a strategy began in the country since the outset of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine is also among the groups supported by Iran. In response to Israel’s recent airstrike on Gaza, the movement obliged some one million Israelis to creep into a shelter and to close most schools and factories in southern occupied Palestine. It fired 185 missiles on Israel.
Israel has launched the recent clash. Terror attacks against leaders of the Palestinian resistance, who were not conducting operation, and then the killing of civilians, including women and children, made the groups to show reaction. Finally, calm returned to Gaza through mediation of Egypt. A new equation that the Islamic Jihad Movement could impose on Israel is: “Suspension of the rocket firing until Israel’s avoidance of terror acts against Palestinian leaders.” Israel refrains from using “ceasefire” and insists on utilizing “peace”. The reality will not change.
One of the objectives behind Israel’s recent attack on Gaza was testing its ‘Iron Dome’ anti-rocket system. US President Barak Obama had allocated USD 205 million (in addition to US annual 3-billion-dollar in aid to Israel for the construction of the system. Obama took pride in the aid during the recent AIPAC conference in an effort to increase chances of winning a re-election.
Israeli military and political official praise the system for intercepting some Palestinian rockets, however, admitting that it would fail to counter more powerful rockets such as those possessed by Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
Hamas remained silent in the face of Israel’s recent aggression against Gaza due to changes in its political office and its leaders moving from Syria to Jordan, Egypt and Qatar.
This resulted in a rise in the popularity of the Islamic Jihad Movement and, according to some analysts, the “tranquility” caused by Egypt’s mediation is considered a political victory for the movement.
The Islamic Jihad Movement does not recognize the Oslo peace accord. Neither does it recognize and, hence, participate in any Palestinian parliamentary and presidential elections. The movement stresses continuation of resistance and refuses to recognize Israel.
Now, the Islamic Jihad Movement has taken a major step threatening to fire rockets at Tel Aviv and beyond.
Some believe the threat by the movement is beyond Israel’s decision to accept Egypt’s mediation.
This equation is similar to Hezbollah’s move during 2006 war, in which it threatened to fire rockets at the northern Israeli city of Haifa, and consequently made Israel to succumb and accept the defeat.