TEL AVIV – Islamic Jihad Leader Ramadan Abdullah Shallah (pictured) is visiting Iran for bilateral talks after a year-long rift.
On the trip, Shallah met the Iranian leadership for the first time, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif, and others.
Islamic Jihad sources said that the visit is a culmination of months of reconciliation efforts after Iran all but froze its millions’ worth of financial aid to the militant Palestinian organization after it refused to openly criticize Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the civil war in Yemen.
Last month, Breitbart Jerusalem reported that Iran decided to renew its financial aid, though at a smaller scale than before, after talks bore fruit. Tehran also conditioned its support on the degree of Islamic Jihad’s involvement in the armed struggle against Israel.
Iran’s punitive measures sent the organization into great financial distress. Its activists, numbering in their thousands, had to look for alternative sources of income in Algeria and elsewhere in the Arab world after the movement failed to pay their salaries.
Islamic Jihad sources said that the mere fact that Shallah met with Khamenei indicates the likelihood that relations would soon go back to normal. They said that Iran and Islamic Jihad see eye-to-eye on the Palestinian issue and it makes sense that they would collaborate.
Breitbart Jerusalem also reported last month that as part of the rapprochement efforts Iranian officials have been serving as mediators between Islamic Jihad and the Shi’ite militia Al Sabireen, an Islamic Jihad splinter group, to bring them together under one leadership.
Some of Iran’s Arab detractors on social media, mainly in the Gulf, were furious at the meetings. They criticized Shallah for meeting with Iranian leaders while Tehran supports the “mass murder of Sunnis, as we see now in Aleppo.”
“Sadly, the Palestinians will always sell their souls for a fistful of dollars,” Twitter iser Hmed said. “The best example is the fact that they sell their lands to the Jews, as history can attest.”
@iranandarab للاسف الفلسطييينيين والله يموتون ببيع الضمير ويعبدون الدولار … واكبر دليل بيعهم ارضهم لليهود والمل عارف والتاريخ يشهد
— مغرد … جنب السرب (@hmed2006) May 1, 2016
“The last thing the Palestinians should do is liberate themselves from their leadership – half of which collaborates with the occupation and the other panders to Iran,” Alrsheed tweeted. “I don’t understand what freedom they’re on about.”
@iranandarab أول ماعلى الفلسطينيين أن يتحرروامنه هوهذه القيادات ،شاهت الوجوه،قيادات تابعة للمحتل وأخرى تتغزل بإيران،فأي تحرير ينشدونه .
— محمد الرشيد (@Mr_Alrsheed) May 1, 2016
Fardrm was curt: “They should be spat at in the face.”
تف على هذه الوجوه
— سوف اغرد (@fardrrm) May 1, 2016
“Some Arabs would sell their nation and religion for a bit of money,” Hamad wrote.
@iranandarab بعض العرب من اجل المال يبيعون امتهم وعقيدتهم ولا يبالون .
— Hamad Aljohani (@HamadDe1) May 1, 2016
Rakan wrote that “it is perfectly logical that [Shallah] would pay a visit to his masters.”
@iranandarab شي طبيعي ان يزور اسياده
— Abu Rakan (@wa_nees12) May 1, 2016
“Look at how he sits in front of his teacher, or his employer,” Ryan wrote.
— محمد الناصر (@ryan_abo) May 1, 2016