M302 rockets found aboard the Klos C ship are displayed at an Israeli navy base in the Red Sea resort city of Eilat March 10, 2014. The ship seized by the Israeli navy on suspicion of smuggling arms from Iran to the Gaza Strip docked on Saturday in Israel, which planned to put the cargo on display i.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Iran, through Palestinian Islamic Jihad – its proxy in Gaza – is behind the current escalation in the South, former national security adviser Yaakov Amidror said on Sunday.
Amidror, in a conversation with The Israel Project, traced the current round of massive rocket fire on Israel to Friday, when an Islamic Jihad sniper fired on IDF soldiers patrolling the Gaza border, wounding two officers. Israel responded and killed two Hamas men, and then the rocket barrage began from Gaza.
What made Friday’s shooting on the IDF patrol interesting, Amidror said, was that it took place precisely when Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders were in Cairo putting the finishing touches on an agreement drawn up by Egypt that was designed to ease the tension in the South.
But while its leaders were in Cairo, Islamic Jihad fired on the soldiers. At first, the organization tried to deny responsibility for the attack.
“Why did the Islamic Jihad do this?” Amidror asked. “The answer is again and again and again – Iran.”Islamic Jihad, unlike Hamas, is a completely owned and operated Iranian subsidiary
, Amidror said. “It was established by Iran, financed by Iran, and does what Iran wants it to do.”
Iran’s interest, Amidror said, is for Israel to embark on another major operation in Gaza, freeing up Tehran to do what it wants unhindered in Syria.
The Iranian idea, he said, is that “Israel will be busy focusing on Gaza and not have enough energy to deal with the building up of an independent war machine in Syria.”
Iranian pressure, Amidror hinted, is the only explanation for why Islamic Jihad would fire on an IDF patrol while its leaders were in Cairo talking about an arrangement with Israel.
Hamas, Amidror said, was “dragged” into the current escalation by Islamic Jihad. He added that whatever is agreed upon in Cairo – whatever arrangements are reached regarding fishing rights, the economy and the transfer of Qatari funds – “at the end of the day, it will be destroyed by Islamic Jihad if Hamas does not take control and do what it should as an organization that is in control of the Gaza Strip.”
Amidror, a former head of Military intelligence’s Research Department and currently a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, said that Islamic Jihad miscalculated in thinking that Israel would not retaliate during the week of Remembrance Day and Independence Day – and with the Eurovision song contest to be held in Tel Aviv a week from Tuesday until the following Saturday night.