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May 31, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10637

Iranian Qods Force Commander In Letter To Palestinians: Iran Will Continue To Support You With All Its Abilities Until The Zionist Entity Is Eliminated; Hamas Leader Replies: Iran Is A Firm Foundation For Our Struggle Against Israel And U.S.

May 31, 2023
Iran, Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 10637

On May 14, 2023, one day after the end of the latest round of fighting in Hamas-controlled Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror organization, several websites affiliated with the resistance axis posted a letter from Esmail Qaani, commander of the Qods Force in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), to the Palestinian resistance factions. Addressing the people of Gaza, the jihad fighters throughout Palestine, the resistance factions and the commanders of the Joint Operations Room,[1] Qaani congratulated them on their victory in the "Revenge of the Free Campaign" (the Palestinian name of the latest round of fighting in Gaza). Speaking on his own behalf and on behalf of Iran, he added that this great new victory joins the Palestinians' previous victories, which form a series of confident steps towards "the final great victory" over Israel. Qaani stressed that "the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to use all its abilities and resources to support the Palestinian people and its courageous resistance, and to strengthen the resistance axis until the oppressive Zionist entity is removed from all the lands of blessed Palestine." He also thanked all the resistance movements, and in particular the Lebanese Hizbullah, for supporting the Palestinians.

About one week later, Isma'il Haniya, head of Hamas' political bureau, answered Qaani with a letter of his own, in which he thanked Iran for its "unreserved" and strategic support of the Palestinian resistance, and added that "Iran is a firm foundation for the Palestinian resistance and for the resistance axis in its main struggle against the Zionist enemy and the American hegemony." 

In this context it should be noted that Hamas refrained from participating directly in the last round of fighting with Israel, but claimed that it had been part of the fighting through its membership in the Joint Operations Room of the Gazan resistance factions. This message of unity among the Palestinian factions was stressed by both Hamas and the PIJ throughout the latest round of fighting and after it,  although, as noted, this unity did not take the form of active involvement by Hamas in the hostilities.[2]

It should also be mentioned that Qaani's letter is an expression of Iran's years-long support of the Gazan terror organizations with funds and weapons. Over the years the organization leaders have repeatedly thanked Iran for this support, as reported in numerous MEMRI publications.[3]


Qods Force commander Esmail Qaani (left) and Hamas Political Bureau head Isma'il Haniya (Images: shehabnews.com, alresalah.ps)

The following are translated excerpts from Qaani's and Haniya's letters.

Qods Force Commander Qaani: We Will Continue To Support The Palestinian Resistance Until The Zionist Entity Is Eliminated

Esmail Qaani's letter to the resistance factions, posted May 14, 2023 on several websites affiliated with the resistance axis, such as the website of Hamas' daily Al-Risalah and the website of Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV, stated: "Allah said in Quran 9:41: ' Go forth, whether light or heavy, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah. That is better for you, if you only knew.'

"Greetings to the great Palestinian people, whose steadfastness and determination grows from one generation to the next. Greetings to the people of the besieged Gaza and to its honorable jihad fighters, who invent [new] means of power, defense and jihad despite the siege and the provocations. Greetings to the heroic jihad fighters in noble Jerusalem, in the West Bank and throughout the land of Palestine, who have proven that the dawn of victory is nigh.

 "Greetings to the families of the martyrs who did their duty in the defense of Jerusalem and the holy places with determination and loyalty. Greetings to the resistance factions, their commanders and  all their members and heroic jihad fighters, who stood fast, confronting every form of intimidation, and continued to prepare the force that terrifies the enemy and brings victory.

"And greetings to the jihad fighters and commanders of the Joint Operations Room of the Gazan resistance factions, who led the Revenge of the Free Campaign. You, dear commanders, have recorded a new campaign in the history of the conflict with the Zionist enemy and with the forces of the global arrogance that support it. You have once again proved that, thanks to your faith in Allah, your unflagging determination and your wise management you can shatter the power of the occupation and defeat it. With your cooperation and unity, and your devotion to what Allah said in [Quran] 61:4 – 'Allah loves those who fight in His cause in a row as though they are a [single] structure joined firmly' –  you managed to add a new victory to [the roster of] your victories and sources of pride, which form a series of confident steps towards the great final victory, Allah willing.

"On my own behalf and on behalf of the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its believing people, I congratulate you and the Palestinian people on this great victory. I also convey my condolences and congratulate you on the ascent to heaven of all the martyrs who were chosen by God to receive one of the two good things [i.e., martyrdom] in this campaign.[4] [I] especially [congratulate] the martyred commanders, some of whom went to heaven with their wives and children in order to ensure with their pure blood that we [will continue] on this path, with the commanders at the forefront, fighting with all their might, courage and [willingness to] sacrifice. We also beseech Allah to grant a full recovery and perfect health to the wounded. 

"I stress once again that the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to use all its abilities and resources to support the Palestinian people and its courageous resistance, and to strengthen the resistance axis until the oppressive Zionist entity is removed from all the lands of the blessed Palestine.

"I also thank, from the bottom of my heart, the heroes of Hizbullah in Lebanon and all the resistance factions and free peoples in the region and the world for confronting the crimes of the Zionist occupation in the stolen Palestinian lands and for supporting the Palestinian people, who bear their suffering with fortitude, and the steadfast members of the resistance.

"'And Allah is the master of His affairs, but most people do not know' [Quran 12:21].

"Your brother, Esmail Qaani,

"Shawal 23, 1444 / May 14, 2023"[5]

Hamas Political Bureau Head Haniya: Iran Is A Firm Foundation For Our Struggle Against Israel And The U.S.

About one week later, Hamas' mouthpiece Al-Risalah reported on Haniya's letter of reply to Qaani. The report said: "The head of the political bureau of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, Isma'il Haniya… replied to the letter sent by the commander of the IRGC's Qods Force, Al-Hajj Esmail Qaani, following the Revenge of the Free Campaign. [Haniya] wrote: 'The occupation thought that, by eliminating the commanders of the Al-Quds Brigades [the PIJ's military wing] in the latest campaign, the Revenge of the Free Campaign, it would break the resistance and terrorize our people, and that this aggression would help to extricate it from its difficult domestic situation and restore the image of its army as a deterring [force]. But the outcome of the war [only] made its domestic situation worse… The victory of the resistance factions, and primarily of the Al-Quds Brigades, in this campaign was based on power and unity, [both] on the ground and in their policy, and it is a model for emulation.'

"Haniya noted that Qaani's letter expressed the position of the supreme commander of the [Islamic Revolution in Iran, Ali Khamenei], Allah preserve him, and reflected the Islamic Republic's adherence to its unreserved support of the courageous resistance, in all its forms and including all its factions in Gaza, the West Bank and abroad.

"Haniya stated that Iran constitutes a firm foundation for the Palestinian resistance and for the resistance axis in its main struggle against the Zionist enemy and the American hegemony, and conveyed his deep gratitude for the strategic support provided by the Islamic Republic to our brothers in Palestine, on every level."[6]

 

[1] The Joint Operations Room of the Palestinian resistance factions, an umbrella organization that unites all the military wings in the Gaza Strip, is led by Hamas's military wing, the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades.

[2]  Hamas apparently sufficed with extending indirect support to the PIJ on the political, media, logistic and intelligence levels. Among the factions comprising the Joint Operations Room, the main faction, other than the PIJ, that took an active part in the fighting was the Abu 'Ali Mustafa Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which also lost some of its men in the fighting (t.me/kataebabuali, May 13, 2023).

[3]  On Iran's support of Hamas and the PIJ, see MEMRI Clip No. 10239, "Palestinian Islamic Jihad Leader Ziyad Nakhalah: Iran Has Paid The Palestinian Resistance Billions Of Dollars – It Pays For Every House Demolished In The West Bank And Every Weapon Used By The Resistance," April 17, 2023. See also MEMRI reports: Special Dispatch No. 10562 - Lebanese Media Reports: On The Evening Before The April 6, 2023 Rocket Attack On Israel, Iranian Qods Force Commander Esmail Qaani Visited Lebanon, Met With Officials From Hizbullah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad – April 13, 2023; Special Dispatch No. 10124 - In Tehran Visit On The Eve Of The Gaza-Israel Conflict, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Leader Nakhaleh, Iranian Regime Heads Praise Iran's Support For PIJ; IRGC Qods Force Commander Qaa'ni: 'The Palestinian Fighters Are At The Stage Of Planning To Strike The Final Blows Against The Rotting Body Of The Zionist Regime, When The Time Is Right' – August 8, 2022; Special Dispatch No. 9717 - On Second Anniversary Of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani's Killing, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad Continue To Praise Him; Controversy In Gaza Over Billboards Commemorating Him – January 10, 2022; Special Dispatch No. 9330 - Hamas, Islamic Jihad Officials: Iran Provides Our Missiles, Weapons, Funds, And Food, Our Gunmen 'Were Trained By Our Brothers In The IRGC'; Without Iran's Assistance, We Wouldn't Be Able To Fire Rockets At Tel Aviv; Qassem Soleimani Personally Oversaw Transfer Of Rockets To Gaza – May 12, 2021; Special Dispatch No. 9123 - Marking Anniversary Of Killing Of IRGC Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, Hamas Continues To Signal Loyalty To Iran, Resistance Axis – May 1, 2021; Special Dispatch No. 8767, IRGC Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani In Letter Sent Prior To His Death To Hamas Military Wing Commander Muhammad Deif: Despite The Pressures And Siege, Iran Will Never Abandon Palestine, May 26, 2020; Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1461 - In Light Of Impasse In Indirect Iran-U.S. Negotiations, Upsurge In Iranian Terrorism Anticipated On Various Fronts – June 14, 2019; Special Dispatch No. 7339 - Hamas, Palestinian Factions In Response To Israel's Airstrikes In Syria: 'Any Israeli Attack, On Any Front, Will Be Answered With A Comprehensive War On All Fronts' – February 15, 2018; Inquiry & Analysis No. 1366, Intensive Discussions In Resistance Axis Ahead Of Possible Joint Confrontation With Israel; Syrian Daily: A Confrontation Is Inevitable, January 1, 2018; Special Dispatch No. 7144 - Alongside Reconciliation With Fatah, Hamas Officials Tighten Relations With Iran, Call To 'Wipe Israel Off The Map' – October 23, 2017; Special Dispatch No. 6568 - Officials In Lebanese, Gazan Terror Organizations Confirm: Iran Funds Our Activity – August 11, 2016.

[4] This is a reference to a hadith about a speech delivered by the Prophet's companion 'Abdullah Ibn Rawwaha to his army on the eve of the Battle of Mu'tah in 629. He said: "Oh People, I swear by Allah, that the thing you hate [meaning death] is what you are going out to seek today: Shahada [marytrdom]. We are not fighting with a large army, nor with force. We are fighting only with this religion [Islam] with which we have been blessed by Allah. So attack and you will gain one of two blessings: either victory or martyrdom." 

[5] Alresalah.ps, shehabnews.com, safa.ps, manaryv.com.lb, May 14, 2023.

[6]  Alresalah.ps, May 22, 2023. It should be noted that the PIJ website Palestine Today reported on Qaani's letter and on Haniya's response letter (paltoday.ps, May 14, 23, 2023); however, the PIJ did not issue any response of its own to Qaani's letter.

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