Updated: May 31, 2021
“I cannot but thank those who brought forth money and weaponry to the valiant resistance, the Islamic Republic of Iran, who did not hold back money, weapons, and technical support.”
— Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh
With a fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, paid a visit to the region on Tuesday. Blinken met with Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and also paid a visit to Ramallah and the Palestinian leadership there.
During the recent week and a half of fighting, Hamas fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israel. In response, Israel’s military conducted numerous strategic airstrikes in the Gaza Strip to stop the attacks. Due to Hamas’ policy of embedding its military assets in and under apartment buildings and other civilian structures, areas of Gaza are now rubble.
While US President Joe Biden quietly watched from the sidelines during the conflict, and Egypt brokered the ceasefire deal, Blinken on Tuesday came bearing gifts—for Gaza. He announced that the US is pledging more than $360 million to rebuild Gaza, promising to somehow give the aid without involving Hamas, the governing authority there.
“The United States will work to rally international support around that effort while also making our own significant contributions, including some that I will announce later today,” Blinken said. “We’ll work with our partners, closely with all to ensure that Hamas does not benefit.”
During his meeting with Netanyahu, the Prime Minister told Blinken the US should walk away from negotiations to reenter the failed Iran nuclear deal. He also reiterated that Israel would make its own way and do whatever is necessary to protect its people against foreign threats.
“…Whatever happens, Israel will always reserve the right to defend itself against a regime committed to our destruction, committed to getting the weapons of mass destruction for that end,” Netanyahu said.
Iran’s participation in the recent 11-day conflict was openly acknowledged this week by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. “I cannot but thank those who brought forth money and weaponry to the valiant resistance, the Islamic Republic of Iran, who did not hold back money, weapons, and technical support.”
And Iran is not only supporting terrorists in Gaza. An Iranian drone was shot down on the Jordanian border during the recent conflict, prompting Netanyahu to label Iran “the true patron of terror in the Middle East [and] in the world.”
Republican leadership in the US has expressed deep concerns about President Biden’s continued push to reenter the Iran nuclear deal and lift the economic sanctions, fearing a flood of cash and munitions from Iran to terror groups in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Africa would further inflame the situation in the Middle East.