Israel Palestine: Expert says Iran ‘putting pressure on Israel’
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Dr Arshin Adib-Moghaddam fears without Israel softening its stance, the “cycle of violence” will simply continue. Dr Adib-Moghaddam, Professor in Global Thought and Comparative Philosophies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), as well as the chairman of the Centre for Iranian Studies at the London Middle East Institute, was speaking after a deal brokered by Egypt in response to nine days of Hamas rocket attacks, and consequent Israeli raids on Gaza.
The violence claimed the lives of at least 254 Palestinians including 66 children, while in Israel 13 people were killed, including one child – although the Iron Dome missile defence system stopped many projectiles.
But Dr Adib-Moghaddam, who recently published his new book, What is Iran?, was highly doubtful that the region had seen the last of the carnage.
Comparing the ceasefire to a “sticking plaster”, he claimed: “This is a historic issue. As long as Israel does not adhere to international law and continues with colonising territory that is not theirs as per law, and as long as there is no just solution that will address the Palestinian quest for a state, this conflict will continue and the radicals on all sides will benefit.”
The cycle of violence will continue if there is no just settlement of the Palestinian question
Dr Arshin Adib-Moghaddam
Speaking of the attitude of the United States, Dr Adib-Moghaddam suggested President Biden was having to try and balance off different interest groups.
He explained: “I don’t think Biden is interested in getting embroiled in any of this, as I do believe that he and many others among the Democrats increasingly see the one-sided support to Israel as a liability to US national interests in the region and beyond.
“The pendulum of public opinion in the US is slowly swinging in a different direction, too, and it is that much more difficult to ignore the force of pro-Palestinian sentiments all over the world.
“The cycle of violence will continue if there is no just settlement of the Palestinian question which requires a regional modus vivendi, too.
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“To that end, engaging all the stakeholders in the conflict is crucial.”
With reference to Iran, Dr Adib-Moghaddam insisted despite Tehran’s aggressive rhetoric, there was no chance of the Islamic Republic becoming embroiled in any conflict.
He explained: “The support for Palestine was a major plank of the revolution in 1979, from the Leftists, the Liberals to the Islamists.
“Since then it served two purposes for the Iranian state: Political mobilisation at home and claiming leadership in the region and the Global South more widely as the Palestinian quest for statehood resonates globally.”
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However, he added: “More recently there are diverse views on the issue of Palestine, and there are some Iranian politicians who call for a more balanced approach.”
Others, such as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC), regarded the strategic benefit of their alliance with movements such as Hamas as a deterrent against Israel.
He said: “This is subsumed under the strategic depth doctrine of Iran and the alliance now includes powerful actors, from the Houthi in Yemen, to various Iraqi movements, Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine.
“The real motor of the Palestinian resistance, however, is the system that deprives Palestinians from their basic human rights.
“This is the real cause of the conflict and unless this is not rectified the clashes will continue.”
Meanwhile, statements coming out of Iran in the wake of the rocket attacks have implied the country has had a role in arming militants in Palestine and Dr Adib-Moghaddam suggested such a conclusion was not an unreasonable one to draw.
He said: “Iran doesn’t have access to the Gaza Strip, but technology is permeable and it is safe to assume that Iran shares some of its weapons system technology with its allies.”
Unsurprisingly, Israel has a very different perspective when it comes to the dispute.
Speaking after the ceasefire was accepted by his Security Cabinet, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the campaign had resulted “significant achievements in the operation, some of which are unprecedented.”
He added: “If Hamas thinks we will tolerate a drizzle of rockets, it is wrong.”
Mr Netanyahu pledged to hit back with “a new level of force against any expression of aggression against communities around Gaza and any other part of Israel.”
As for whether the ceasefire would hold, he said: “The political leaders emphasised that the reality on the ground will determine the future of the campaign.”
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