TEL AVIV – During Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ surprise summons to Saudi Arabia last week, the PA’s official daily published anti-Iran articles claiming the Islamic Republic was spreading its “tentacles” by appropriating the Palestinian cause as part of its ongoing attempts at regional hegemony.
On Wednesday, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida‘s editorial posited that former Lebanese prime minister Said Al-Hariri’s shock resignation was the result of Iran’s “flagrant interference” in his countries affairs – a strategy that Tehran was hoping to repeat in other areas including the Palestinian territories. Iran has already had some measure of success in its burgeoning relations with Gaza-based terror groups Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and most recently with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The editorial accused these groups of being unaware of the “magnitude of the dangers” of such ties with Iran.
“[W]e say that we will not sit idly by and will not allow intervention aimed at duplicating the model of Hizbullah in Palestine in order to expand the map of the Persian empire,” the editorial said according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
It continued with the assertion that “Iranian interference is not aimed at liberating Palestine or promoting Palestinian interests; rather, its main goal is to achieve hegemony and control” with almost no regard for the Palestinians’ “supreme national interests.”
In a separate article, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida columnist Anwar Rajab warned of “the danger that Iran and its proxies pose for the stability and security of the entire region.”
Rajab also said Palestinian factions like Hamas, PIJ and the PFLP should be wary of Iran’s “military and monetary aid on the pretext of supporting the Palestinian resistance.”
“The Iranians have their own goals, interests, and agendas, but we cannot accept their having Palestinian tools, for any reason whatsoever,” he wrote.
He said that, going forward, all external financial or humanitarian aid should pass through the PA or through international organizations in coordination with the PA.
Rajab noted that accepting bait from Iran would also destroy the Palestinians’ relationship with Saudi Arabia.
“It is unreasonable to arouse the ire of our big sister, Saudi Arabia,” he wrote.
Last week, Abbas was summoned to Saudi Arabia by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. According to a report on Israel’s Channel 10, the PA president was warned against having any ties with Tehran. The warning came in response to the news that senior members of Hamas – which recently inked a reconciliation deal with the PA’s ruling Fatah faction – had visited Tehran.
The report also claimed the Saudis told Abbas to accept President Donald Trump’s plan for solving the conflict with Israel or resign.