JERUSALEM – Iran last month distributed $1 million to families of Palestinian suicide bombers and jailed terrorists at a ceremony sponsored in part by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, WND has learned.
A speech given on behalf of Abbas at the distribution ceremony called for the liberation of “all” Palestinian lands and a stop to the “Judaization” of Jerusalem, reported the Information and Terrorism Center at Israel’s Center for Special Studies.
The Al-Ansar Association, a division of the Iranian Martyrs Foundation, based in Tehran, held the ceremony in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 13 to distribute the funds to families of suicide bombers, jailed terrorists and Palestinians whose homes were demolished during Israeli anti-terror operations – usually because a family member committed a terror act or terrorists were allowed to use their homes as shelter.
Al-Ansar was founded in 2003 to serve as the Palestinian branch of the Iranian Martyrs Foundation, which, according to the Center for Special Studies, grants money on behalf of Iran. Al-Ansar also operates under the auspices of the Martyr Institution run by Iran-backed Hezbollah operatives in Lebanon.
Al-Ansar’s Palestinian office is headed by an Islamic Jihad member who is directed by Hezbollah, said the Center for Special Studies.
Abbas sent a representative to deliver a speech on his behalf at the $1 million distribution ceremony, which was videotaped and attended by several members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Abbas was also a sponsor of the ceremony, the Center for Special Studies reports.
Giving a speech for Abbas, Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Hisham Abd issued a call to fight against Israel’s West Bank security fence and the Judaization of Jerusalem, and he said the PA formulated “national plans” to liberate Palestinian lands.
Dr. Reuven Erlich, director of the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, told WND Abbas’ sponsorship of the ceremony demonstrates the PA president “prefers not to confront the terror organizations.”
The public ceremony is the latest evidence Iran directly backs Palestinian terrorism.
Said Erlich: “Iran considers the generous support it provides to ‘charity associations’ in the Palestinian Authority-administered territories a means to support the terrorist organizations, mainly the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas, and an instrument for acquiring influence among the Palestinian population.”
Senior Israeli security sources told WND last week’s suicide bombing north of Tel Aviv that killed five civilians was directed from Syria and funded in part by Iran. They said the Islamic Jihad cell responsible for the bombing was directed by Iranian-funded Hezbollah.
Sources said Hezbollah forces using Iranian money have created a terror apparatus of Palestinian militants in the West Bank consisting mostly of Jihad members who receive full-time salaries from the Lebanese group.
Palestinian security previously had intercepted a series of communications, including phone calls and e-mails, between Hezbollah and West Bank terrorists indicating Hezbollah had been trying to recruit suicide bombers to carry out attacks, sources say.
One official said intercepted bank transactions previously suggested Hezbollah had raised its Iranian-sponsored cash offers to Palestinian terrorists and now is willing to pay $100,000 for a suicide bombing operation. In the past, information indicated Hezbollah would pay $20,000 for such attacks.
Maj. Gen. Yaacov Amidror, former head of Israel’s military intelligence, told WND, “The money comes straight from Iran. At one point, we had information Iran once told Islamic Jihad if they didn’t carry out a suicide attack within 60 days, they would cut back their funding. That just illustrates the kind of relationship Tehran has with them. Also with Hezbollah.”
Said a senior security official, “Both Syria and Iran are under mounting international pressure. They need a distraction and they need a conflict somewhere else. They know suicide bombings force Israel to respond.”
Iran has been under fire for its growing nuclear ambitions. Countries from around the world blasted remarks last week by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for Israel to be “wiped off the face of the earth.”