Iran has resumed financial support for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, months after it withdrew support in retaliation for the group’s reluctance to openly back the Islamic Republic, an Islamic Jihad official told Breitbart Jerusalem.
The official said that the support is much lower than before. At its zenith, Iran gave Islamic Jihad tens of millions of dollars a year, but now will only allow the cash-strapped movement to balance its books for the foreseeable future.
The official would not disclose whether the resumed support is dependent on turning up the heat on Israel, only saying that the aid was renewed unconditionally. He also said that Iran remains a staunch supporter of another radical faction in Gaza, Al Sabireen.
“Iran made it clear that the smaller sums are a function of the fact that armed resistance against Israel is taking place on a smaller scale, and that much of the country’s outreach resources are invested in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon,” he said. “There’s no doubt that the lifting of the sanctions is behind all this, but it’s nowhere near the sums we were used to.”
He also said that if Egypt and Saudi Arabia move even closer to each other, and Egypt openly backs Saudi regional strategies, Iran will increase its support for Palestinian militias in Gaza as leverage against Egypt.
“We will not be part of this game,” he said, “but Iran is setting up infrastructure in Gaza that would defend their interests by creating an escalation vis-à-vis Israel and the newly minted Saudi-Egyptian axis.”
The official said the Iranian money has yet to be transferred and the reason for the delay is unknown. Islamic Jihad’s headquarters in Beirut, which was supposed to channel the funds to the Gaza branch, said that its numerous queries remained unanswered.
For years, Iran channeled up to hundreds of millions of dollars per year to the organization, but recently, due to disagreements over the Syrian crisis and the insurgency in Yemen, support was suspended.
In January, Breitbart Jerusalem reported that Islamic Jihad has been seeking alternative funding. The organisation has made headway in fundraising in Algeria and Turkey, sources in the group told Breitbart Jerusalem.
Top Islamic Jihad official Mohammed al-Hindi met with pro-Palestinian members of Algerian civil society and the private sector, and was allegedly able to raise significant funds, although still short of the original target, the sources said at the time.
“The sums at hand are rather limited and not big,” an Islamic Jihad source admitted, explaining that similar funds were raised in Turkey.
Islamic Jihad leaders have had to deal with growing disquiet among members, who bear the brunt of the movement’s financial distress.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.