In the days before the August 5, 2022 Israeli strike on Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) military commanders in Gaza, PIJ secretary-general Ziyad Nakhaleh was in Tehran meeting with senior Iranian leaders. During the meetings, he stressed the PIJ's increasing hold in the West Bank and its preparations to carry out terror attacks in Israel. For their part, the Iranian leaders reiterated their support for the PIJ and their encouragement of its armed resistance operations against Israel carried out from both Gaza and the West Bank.
It should be noted that the PIJ is a proxy of Iran and that since its founding it has received Iranian weapons and funding. Although it is a Sunni Arab organization, it accepts as its leader Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who heads the Islamic revolutionary regime in Iran, and PIJ leaders regularly express their gratitude to him for his active support of the organization and its operatives.
Tehran appears to be demanding of the PIJ and its visiting secretary-general that the organization carry out terror attacks against Israel in response to operations attributed to Israel on Iranian soil in recent months. This can be understood from statements by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force Qods Force commander Qaa'ni, on August 5, on the eve of the outbreak of the conflict: "Although in many cases the enemy [Israel] has received a response to its hostility within a very short time, we have a plan for everything that is left [unanswered]... 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."
On August 4, 2022, the day before the outbreak of the conflict, Nakhaleh presented Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi with a report on PIJ capabilities and activity in Palestine. Pointing out "the Zionist regime's passivity in dealing with resistance forces in Gaza and the West Bank," he added: "The Palestinian resistance has a strong presence in the West Bank, in addition to a strong presence in Gaza... These achievements are thanks to Iran's support."
The previous day, August 3, 2022, at a meeting with Khamenei's advisor Ali Akbar Velayati, Nakhaleh declared that "Supreme Leader [Khamenei] has a place in our heart, and he has no equal in all the world. You are our big brothers and you play an important role both in Iran and beyond it." During this meeting, he asserted that "Israel is besieged from all sides" – a statement he reiterated also in conversations with other senior Iranian officials.
This report reviews the meetings in Tehran between PIJ secretary-general Ziyad Nakhaleh and senior Iranian officials in the first days of August 2022, prior to and following the August 5 outbreak of the hostilities from and within Gaza:
IRGC Qods Force Commander Qaa'ni: "Every Day, We Witness The Zionist Regime's Security Margin Shrinking; 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"
On August 5, 2022, on the eve of the outbreak of the conflict, IRGC Qods Force commander Esmail Qaa'ni said, at the funeral of three IRGC members who died in Syria: "The enemies of the Islamic regime, and particularly America and the Zionist regime, must know that in every arena of resistance that we enter, there is honor and pride for the [Islamic] revolution."
He continued: "The enemies must know that for the sake of the oppressed of the region, we will never ignore their crimes and schemes at any geographical point. Although in many cases the enemy [Israel] has received a response to its hostility within a very short time, we have a plan for everything that is left [i.e. for all Israel's hostility that has not yet received a response].
"The Zionist regime is collapsing. Every day, we witness the Zionist regime's security margin shrinking. 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. Every day, there are least 15 operations against the positions of the regime occupying Jerusalem, and, for fear of their lives, they have even set up fences in their settlements.
"The sons of Islam in the occupied territories, in Gaza, and in Lebanon are trained in the school of thought of the imams of the revolution [regime founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Supreme Leader Khamenei]. America and the Zionist regime cannot oppose these heroes."
Qods Force commander Qaa'ni (Source: Tasnim, Iran, August 6, 2022)
Nakhaleh To Raisi: 'Today The Palestinian Resistance Has A Strong Presence In The West Bank In Addition To A Strong Presence In Gaza… These Achievements Were Attained Thanks To Iran's Support'
During their August 4, 2022 meeting, Iranian President Raisi told Nakhaleh: "Today, the [armed] resistance [against Israel] is defensible as an idea, and has produced results in the arena. It is not the so-called peace agreements but 'the illuminated path of the resistance' that has made the enemy despair and given hope to all the supporters of the method of resistance worldwide.
"The Zionist regime thought that with normalization and the establishment of relations with [Arab] countries it could create security for itself, while these actions do not and will not bring security to the Zionists in any way. This is because they do not have the appropriate knowledge and predictions about the region and future developments.
"We have no doubt concerning the actualization of the Palestinian resistance's victory and about the liberation of Jerusalem – the dream of [IRGC Qods force commander Qassem] Soleimani and of all the martyrs of the resistance. Today, the Muslim nations in the region very much hate the plundering Zionist entity and consider the resistance to be the major and fundamental line of dealing with it."
Presenting Raisi with a report on PIJ capabilities and activity in Palestine, Nakhaleh pointed out "the Zionist regime's passivity in dealing with resistance forces, in Gaza and the West Bank." He added: "Today, Iran's presence in the region and in the world is bolder and more powerful than ever before, and there is no doubt that President Raisi's personal attention played a significant role in the strengthening of relations with the countries in the region and in standing against the tyrants [Israel] in this sphere.
"Today, the Palestinian resistance has a strong presence in the West Bank, in addition to a strong presence in Gaza. In the future, this will lead to increasing pressure on the Zionist regime, and to changes in the equations in Palestine. These achievements are thanks to Iran's support.
"Happily, the initiative of the Islamic resistance forces in Palestine has impacted the aims of the Zionist entity in its warming relations with some Arab countries in the region.
"Today, the axis of resistance shines more strongly than ever, with impressive achievements. There is no doubt that the continuation of this path will weaken and destroy the Zionist entity – and by virtue of the support from Iran, and especially from [Supreme Leader] Khamenei, victory is nigh. With Allah's help, we will all enter Jerusalem together."
Iranian President Raisi with PIJ leader Nakhaleh in Tehran (Source: President.ir, Iran, August 4, 2022)
PIJ Secretary General Nakhaleh, To The Supreme Leader's Adviser Velayati: 'Israel Is Surrounded On All Sides'
In his August 3 meeting with Khamenei's international relations adviser Ali Akbar Velayati, Nakhaleh said: "Israel is surrounded on all sides. Supreme Leader [Khamenei] has a place in our heart, and he has no equal in all the world. You are our big brothers, and you play an important role both in Iran and beyond it.
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"I am happy to have come to Iran when it is stronger than ever and when the resistance is more powerful than ever. The Israelis today are impacted by the might of Iran and of the resistance forces. They are surrounded on all sides, and this was made possible thanks to the Supreme Leader's directives – that Iran and the resistance are stronger than in the past. The Islamic Jihad movement [PIJ] is in good shape in all the resistance positions, and despite all the enemies' efforts and messages it is making progress. The enemy is surrounded on all fronts, and we are witnessing the impotence of the policy of the enemies [Israel] and America against the might of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Nakhaleh and Khamenei advisor Velayati (Source: Tasnim, Iran, August 4, 2022)
Nakhaleh To Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian: "The Zionist Regime Is Currently In Its Weakest Situation, And The Fighters Of The Resistance Proudly And Honorably Support The Gaza Residents And The Liberation Of Jerusalem"
During Nakhaleh's August 3, 2022 meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the latter stressed "the continuation of the policy and principled positions of Iran in support of the ideology of Palestinian liberation and the oppressed Palestinian people's resistance to the aggression and expansion of the Zionist apartheid."
Abdollahian voiced his hope that "by strengthening convergence among the Islamic states, we will witness the enemies' failure to curb the sacred ideal of the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem." He expressed confidence that "the Islamic resistance in the region and in Palestine will staunchly defend the inalienable rights of the nations in the region and in Palestine, with strengthened cohesion, solidarity, and internal unity."
Expressing his gratitude for Iran's support on the Palestine issue, Nakhaleh praised Iran's strong, effective, and constructive role in regional issues, and voiced his esteem for Iran's active diplomacy in its interaction with various countries in the region and the Islamic world as a sign of Iran's dynamism and strength.
"Iran's achievements and successes," he added, "belong to the entire Islamic nation... Resistance is the sole option for the Palestinian people to insist on its rights and expel the occupiers from Palestinian soil." Arguing that "there is a need for unity and cohesion of the Palestinian groups in order to strengthen the Palestinian people's Islamic resistance," he stressed "the important role and position of Iran, Syria, and the Lebanese resistance [Hizbullah] in support of the Islamic resistance front."
Iranian Foreign Minister Abdollahian with Nakhaleh (Source: Fars, Iran, August 6, 2022)
Subsequently, Abdollahian told Nakhaleh in an August 6, 2022 phone conversation following Israel's killing of PIJ commanders in Gaza: "Undoubtedly, the Palestinian resistance and the resisting Gazan people will be the ultimate victors in this arena. The Zionist regime continues to create crises in order to cover up the crises on all levels in the occupied territories."
Nakhaleh replied: "The Zionist regime is currently in its weakest situation, and the fighters of the resistance proudly and honorably support the Gaza residents and the liberation of Jerusalem. We have responded to the Zionist regime out of belief in God and with the strength of the Palestinian resistance, and we will record a significant development in the path of this struggle."
IRGC Commander Salami To Nakhaleh: "For The Iranian People, The Liberation Of Palestine Is More Than A Wish – It Is A Sure Strategy"; "We Are With You On This Path To The End"; "The Zionists Will Pay A Heavy Price For Their Most Recent Crime"
During the August 6, 2022 meeting between Nakhaleh and IRGC commander Hossein Salami, Salami said that "for the Iranian people, the liberation of Palestine is more than a wish – it is a sure strategy." He continued: "When the liberation of Palestine [is treated as] a wish, it remains within the boundaries of a wish, and is not perceived as a realistic goal. This is while according to the directives of the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini, and according to the emphases of the Imam [Supreme Leader] Khamenei, our goal and our strategy is to liberate Jerusalem and to bring the lost and occupied lands of Palestine back to their original owners.
"The path of developments in Palestine and the waning of the power of the Zionists, who are moving toward collapse and ruin, is one from which there is no turning back, and with God's help, the liberation of Jerusalem is nigh. The strength of the Palestinian resistance is more developed than in the past, and with its concrete potential and capabilities, it is showing that it has found the capability to wage large-scale wars...
"Due to the despair deriving from America's inability to support it, Israel has gradually turned to several Arab countries to strengthen itself. But this strategy will not save it, and the [Zionist] regime's inherent weaknesses will not allow it to actualize its evaporating wishes.
"When Palestine gains strength and its might is revealed, the weakness and impotence of the Zionists become more obvious, and they are hard pressed to continue to operate... There are clear signs and evidence that the Zionists are disintegrating from within. It may be that with the waning of Israel, the Palestinian resistance will have no need of war.
"Today, all the jihadi capabilities against the Zionists are standing before them in one united row, and are working to liberate Jerusalem and to [restore] the rights of the Palestinian people. We are with you on this path to the end. Palestine must know, and the Palestinians must be aware, that they are not alone. The liberation of Jerusalem and the victory of the Palestinian nation are the ideal and the strategy of the imams of the Islamic Revolution [Khomeini and Khamenei] and of the great nation of Iran. The Islamic Republic [of Iran] will continue with the heroic and powerful resistance of Palestine. Today more than ever, we are Palestinians, and with the grace of God we will continue on this path.
"The PIJ's swift response [i.e. the rocket fire from Gaza into Israel] to this crime [the August 5 assassination of Tayseer Al-Jabari, commander of the PIJ's northern sector in Gaza] demonstrates the beginning of a new chapter in the strengthening of the resistance, and the Zionists will pay a heavy price for their most recent crime. The achievement of an efficient military force that will thwart the balance of danger guarantees the success of the Palestinian intifada and the Islamic resistance against the Zionist regime. With the assistance of the [Iranian] people's solidarity and the partnership of the [Iranian] people, you will be able to become even stronger and to triumph over Zionism, in human, spiritual, and military terms."
Nakhaleh To Salami: Iran's "Presence At Our Side Strengthened Our Spirit And Our Ability To Resist"
Nakhaleh replied to Salami: "Iran's broad and steadfast stand against America and the Zionist regime gladdens the Palestinian people and strengthens the spirit of the Palestinian fighters and the men of jihad. The Islamic resistance has made good and effective progress in military might, and this process will not cease. We have overcome many problems on the path of the struggle against the Zionists, and the presence of the supporters of the Palestinian people, and especially your [Iran's] presence alongside us, has strengthened our spirit and our ability to resist. We will persevere in resistance. Thanks to the cooperation of the other Palestinian resistance groups, we are now in a very good position, and can respond to any attack by the Zionist regime in a timely manner."
Salami, left, and Nakhaleh in Tehran (ISNA, Iran, August 6, 2022)
Nakhaleh To Strategic Foreign Relations Council Chairman Kharrazi: "The Waning Of The Zionist Regime Was Only An Idea – But Now It Has Become A Possibility"
At the August 7 meeting between Nakhaleh and Iranian Strategic Foreign Relations Council chairman Kamal Kharrazi, Kharrazi said: "The [Palestinian May 2021 Gaza-Israel] Sword of Jerusalem operation is the source of the new movement in the Palestinian resistance. While the world powers act against the Palestinian people using various methods, the Palestinian people's insistence on its right to remove the occupation and the occupiers [Israel and the Israelis] is worthy of esteem. What we saw in the Sword of Jerusalem [operation] was the solidarity of the entire Palestinian people, that emerged from the Palestinian people's awareness and from the spirit that strives for the freedom of this people.
"The current cabinet of the Zionist regime is unstable. Prime Minister [Yair Lapid], who is today operating in a coalition of a great many heterogenous parties, cannot have much power."
He also expressed his hope that the late IRGC Qods Force commander Soleimani's wish for the liberation of Jerusalem would soon come true.
For his part, Nakhaleh voiced appreciation for Iran's support for Palestine and the Palestinian resistance, saying: "Until the victory in the 12-day war [May 2021], the waning of the Zionist regime was only an idea – but now it has become a possibility. The Zionist regime's confidence is weakened. We are now at an important stage in the life of the Palestinian struggle with this regime. New chapters are starting for the entire resistance in the region."
Kamal Kharrazi meets with Nakhaleh (Source: ISNA, Iran, August 7, 2022)
Nakhaleh To Majlis Speaker Qalibaf: "We Have Recorded Good Achievements Inside Palestine In The Framework Of Strengthening The Resistance – Especially In The West Bank"
Majlis speaker Mohammad Baqr Qalibaf said during his August 3 meeting with Nakhaleh: "The experience of the Iran-Iraq War [1980-1988] showed that the only secret of victory is jihad and resistance... Every time the Islamic nations insisted on their belief in the Quran, they became stronger, and in the  Lebanon and 2008 Gaza wars they showed this. Also, the events of May 2021, and to this day, show that jihad and struggle are the only secret to victory."
Nakhaleh told Qalibaf: "[I am] glad to visit Iran during the period when it is stronger, with greater and greater capability, with a more colorful presence in the region. Under these conditions, the resistance movement also has more impact, and a more prominent role. The presence of the Palestinian people in the resistance outside the borders of Palestine will grow stronger; this is a continuation of the resistance operations.
"We have recorded good achievements inside Palestine in the framework of strengthening the resistance – especially in the West Bank. The situation of the resistance in Gaza is very good, and the resistance forces have successfully preserved their strength and capabilities.
"Under circumstances that we are witnessing, there are those who go towards normalization of relations with the Zionists, while the resistance forces are growing stronger, and their role and presence on the ground are becoming stronger.
"Day by day, we are more and more certain that the ultimate victory at the borders of Palestine and outside it, against America and its hangers-on is drawing near. Today, Israel is besieged on all sides, and the voice of the weakness of the Zionist regime is stronger than ever. They [the Zionists] are less capable than they once were, and we will continue mightily on this path that leads to the actualization of the victory of Palestine."
Majlis speaker Baqr Qalibaf, left, and Nakhaleh (Source: Mehr, Iran, August 3, 2022)
 For more on Iran's active assistance to the PIJ, see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1588, Destruction Of Israel By The Sword Or By Referendum – Part II: Senior Iranian Regime Officials Link Iran To The May 2021 Gaza Conflict, Urge Hamas And Palestinian Islamic Jihad To Continue Their Fight Against Israel, July 22, 2021; MEMRI 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; MEMRI 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; and MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9625, Arab Writers: Iranian Official's Statements Prove Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad Act In Service Of Iran, Not Out Of National Considerations, November 3, 2021.
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