- The Washington Times - Friday, December 8, 2017

The anger and frustration in the Arab world, sparked by Washington’s controversial policy shift on Jerusalem’s status as the capital of Israel, could be a boon for Iranian-backed efforts to undermine the Jewish state and foment international support for Palestine.

Tehran along with Lebanese proxy Hezbollah and Hamas, the Palestinian terror group backed by Iran, have all expectedly condemned the Trump White House’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and initiate plans to move the U.S. embassy there.

“The provocative and unwise decision by the U.S. to recognize [Jerusalem] as the integrated capital of the Zionist regime will not contribute to regional peace and stability,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding the move could lead to “a new intifada.”

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said Wednesday the U.S. shift on Jerusalem crosses “every red line” regarding Washington’s relations with the Middle East, adding the embassy relocation plan placed the U.S. on a path toward “dangerous escalation” with the Arab world.

Despite such public rhetoric, hardliners in Tehran are couching the move as an opportunity for Iran and its allies in the region.

“The United States rushed … to turn to the Palestinian issue, which was the most difficult Arab issue, while the United States urged more serious support to establish more active relations with Israel,” Sa’adollah Zaeri, an Iranian political analyst with suspected ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, wrote in a op-ed for state-run Tasnim News.

The White House shift on Jerusalem, coupled with the impetuous nature of Mr. Trump’s foreign policy moves in the Middle East, “in fact, makes it much easier for Iran to formulate a Palestinian-centered regional front” against Israel and its allies, Mr. Zaeri said.

Leaders from Hamas, Hezbollah and other extremist groups are already using the White House decision as a rallying cry to the Palestinian cause.

“America has made clear what it has always hidden …now, the option of resistance must be supported at various levels.” Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem wrote in a online message. “South Lebanon was freed through resistance, and it became clear that Israel can be defeated,” he added.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah is expected to hold a televised address on Tuesday, in response to the Trump administration’s policy shift on Jerusalem, according to a statement issued by the terror group on Wednesday.

Ahmad al Mudallal, a member of the Palestinian-based terror group Islamic Jihad, demanded the Palestinian Authority to end any effort toward peace negotiations involving the United States, as a result of Mr. Trump’s announcement.

“America cannot establish peace in the world because it is the cause of instability in the region,” he said, according to reports by Al-Monitor.


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