January 14, 2009

TIP Runs Ad to Stop Nuclear Iran

The Israel Project will debut a new ad on Monday that will run throughout the inaugural period, and will focus on increasing awareness of Iran's role in funding, training and supplying Hamas and Hezbollah and their attacks on Israel. You can view the ad here.

Click below for the full text of today's TIP news release.

As Hamas Continues to Fire Iranian-made Rockets, The Israel Project Begins TV Ad Campaign to Prevent War with Iran

Hamas in Gaza fired Iranian-made Grad missiles today (Jan. 14) that hit the Israeli city of Beersheba and near the city of Yavneh.[1] The attack is a reminder of the ongoing danger posed by Iran and its terrorist proxies, which The Israel Project (TIP) is highlighting through a TV ad that will air during the inauguration period of President-elect Barack Obama.

TIP’s ad campaign is designed to encourage the world community to work for a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis and to increase awareness that Iran is largely responsible for training, arming and funding Hamas, which has fired 6,500-plus rockets at Israeli civilians since Israel completely withdrew from Gaza in August 2005.[2] The ad is scheduled to begin running Monday on CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News Channel and MSNBC, and will be broadcast more than 600 times overall. Yesterday, in her confirmation hearing, Secretary of State-Designate Hillary Clinton also focused on the need to stop the threat of Iran.

The ad campaign comes as Israel Defense Forces (IDF) continue defensive operations to stop Iran-backed Hamas in Gaza from continuing its years-long campaign of attacking Israeli civilians with thousands of rockets, missiles and mortars.

Also today, the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona was hit by rockets fired from southern Lebanon, marking the second such attack in a week on Israel’s northern border.[3] Hours later, Lebanese troops found and dismantled three more rockets set up to be fired.[4] On Thursday (Jan. 8), rockets from southern Lebanon hit the Israeli city of Nahariya and the Upper Galilee, striking a home for the elderly where two people were injured and five others suffered shock.[5] The attacks were the first since mid-2006, when Iran-backed Hezbollah ignited a war by firing thousands of rockets on northern Israel. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

TIP Founder and President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi said Israel had no choice but to initiate defensive operations in Gaza as the international community ignored Hamas’ constant rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. “Israel never wants to go to war,” Mizrahi said. “Israel repeatedly warned the international community that Iran-backed terrorists in Gaza were shooting thousands of rockets aimed at Israeli civilians and something must be done to stop them. But the world did not do enough to stop Iran's proxies -- and so Israel was forced yet again into a defensive war against an Iranian proxy.

“It is important to learn the lessons from what is happening in Gaza today and to bring the international community together to peacefully stop Iran's nuclear program and support of terror. "The Israel Project is launching this TV ad campaign during the inaugural period because we know President-elect Obama shares our goal of stopping the threat of Iran. He too understands that time is running out on Iran having nuclear weapons."

The text of the nuclear Iran ad script states:

“Imagine Washington, D.C. under missile attack from nearby Baltimore.

Since 2005, Israel has been targeted by 8,000 rocket and missile attacks from Hamas and Hezbollah.

Iran has helped fund, train and arm these terrorist groups.

A nuclear Iran is a threat to peace, emboldens extremists …and could give nuclear materials to terrorists with the ability to strike -- anywhere.

The world’s leaders can peacefully prevent a nuclear Iran. The time to act is now.”

Hamas and Iran – A Strong Alliance

Iran--the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism and a chief sponsor of Palestinian terrorism--provides approximately $20 million - $30 million to Hamas annually and also trains Hamas operatives in Iran and Syria.[6] Iran gave Hamas an additional $50 million after it beat Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction in the 2006 Palestinian elections.[7]

In the months before Hamas seized control of Gaza in a bloody coup in June 2007, Iran conducted extensive military training for Hamas members.[8] During the siege, Hamas killed 161 Palestinians and wounded at least 700 others.[9] Approximately 950 Hamas terrorists have been trained in building rockets and bombs, tactical warfare, weapons operation and sniper tactics by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, a special division of Iran’s armed forces.[10]

Additional recent actions and support by Iran include:

• Recruiting 70,000 Iranian students for suicide attacks against Israeli troops in Gaza.[11] On Jan. 5, Esmaeel Ahmadi, director of the Public Relations of Iran’s Students’ Basij Organization, said the students had signed up for ‘martyrdom operations’ against Israeli troops in Gaza.[12]

• A meeting at the Iranian Embassy in Syria Jan. 7 between Ali Larijani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator and parliament speaker and top Hamas officials including Hamas’s Damascus political bureau leader Khaled Mashaal. During the visit, Larijani also met with members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad,[13] which receives $2 million annually from Iran.[14] Hours after the meetings, three Katyushas were fired into Israel from southern Lebanon – the first such attack from Lebanon since the 34-day defensive war Israel fought against Hezbollah during July – August 2006.[15] Hezbollah denied responsibility, and some Lebanese officials said Palestinian terrorists were responsible for the attack, which wounded two people.[16]

• Tehran publicly urging Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to carry out terrorist attacks.[17]

• Shutting down its reformist daily newspaper Kargozaran after the paper criticized Hamas for its role in Israel’s operations in Gaza and labeling Hamas a terrorist organization.[18] The communiqué came from the Iranian student group Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat (Strengthening Unity – Clerics Circle) It further stated that “Hamas’ use of civilians to protect it from Israel’s attacks was inhumane and criticized the Iranian regime for arming Hamas, claiming that as a result Iran has the blood of innocents on its hands.” Mehdi Arabshahi, secretary of Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat accused circles close to Ahmadinejad of taking advantage of the situation in Gaza to “crack down on human rights organizations in Iran and to silence his opponents.”[19]

• Conducting extensive media operations in Gaza. Iran runs the Al-Aqsa TV station which has promoted terrorist activity and incites hatred of Jews and Israelis. On the children’s program “Tomorrow’s Pioneers” which has featured numerous life-size costumed animals, the character called Assoud – a rabbit, stated, “I, Assoud, will finish off the Jews and eat them, Allah willing...” The show is but one example of the incitement to hatred and violence promoted by the TV channel.[20]

• Providing Iranian-made munitions to Palestinian terrorists—an increasingly common phenomenon in the conflict. For example, on Nov. 28, 2008, an Iranian-manufactured standard 120mm mortar was fired by a terrorist group in Gaza and hit an IDF base inside Israel, wounding eight soldiers, one of whom had his leg amputated as a result. The use of Iranian-made munitions by Palestinian terrorists is an increasingly common phenomenon in the conflict.[21]

Numerous Middle East experts also note the strong ties between Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah. For example:

• Gregory Copley, president of the International Strategic Studies Association, stated that 122mm Grad rockets being used by Hamas against Israel could only have been supplied by a foreign state, almost certainly Syria operating at the behest of Iran. He further said that Iran and Syria have been “the major force supporting Hamas in Gaza and creating Gaza as a separate entity from the Palestinian Authority after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.”[22]

• Reva Bhalla, a Middle East analyst said Iran uses Hezbollah’s smuggling network to provide arms to Hamas: "Basically, you'll have a bunch of Hezbollah agents who will procure arms through Sudan. They'll enter Egypt under forged documents, pay off disgruntled Bedouins in the Sinai with things like light arms, cash, Lebanese hashish - which they can sell in the black market - and pay off Egyptian security guards as well so that they can travel covertly into Gaza to pass off the weapons shipments through Hamas' pretty extensive underground tunnel network."[23]

• David Schenker, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute and a former Pentagon official specializing in Middle East issues, said the increasing sophistication of Hamas’s tactics was evidence that the group might have received training from Hezbollah.

• In March 2008, a Hamas official confirmed for the first time that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been training Hamas men in Tehran for more than two years and is “currently honing the skills of 150 fighters.” He elaborated by saying that Hamas had been sending fighters to Iran for field tactics and weapons technology since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005.[24] So far, 150 members of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, have passed through training in Tehran “where they study for between 45 days and six months […] under the command the IRGC.” Another 650 Hamas fighters have been trained in Syria under instructors who learnt their techniques in Iran. In March 2008, 62 Hamas fighters were actually in Syria.[25]

• Jalal Ghazi from New American Media wrote: “[…] it is obvious that Iran and Hezbollah have been transferring their know-how to Hamas in Gaza.” [26] The Jerusalem Post’s David Horovitz wrote that Hamas has “drawn itself increasingly into Iran’s orbit.” Much of the terrorist organization’s weaponry and expertise in producing and refining rockets has been provided by Iran, said Horovitz, adding that numerous commanders have been trained in Iran to carry out Iran’s goal of destroying Israel.[27]

Iran also provides weapons, training and money to other terrorist groups bent on destroying Israel such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and encourages them to carry out attacks.[28]

Shared ideology

The terrorist organization and the Islamic Republic share “a close ideological vision of the Middle East.”[29] For example, neither entity recognizes Israel’s right to exist and have explicitly called for Israel’s destruction. In 2005, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Israel should be “wiped off the map” and that attacks by Palestinians would destroy it eventually.[30] The Hamas charter of 1988 calls for Israel’s destruction “at the hands of Islam.”[31] On April 16, 2006, Khaled Mashaal, Hamas’ exiled political leader, said Hamas would “never recognize Israel.”[32]

In The Daily Star, a Lebanese English-language newspaper, Ana Mahjar-Barducci described the relationship between Hamas and Iran as: “[…] an alliance across the great Islamic divide, between a Sunni group and a Shiite regional power.”[33]

On Dec. 9, 2008, Ahmadinejad emphasized Iran’s support for the terrorist group until the “collapse of Israel.” The Iranian president further said Hamas’s resistance against Israel and the group’s achievements would always be “a source of pride for all Muslims.”[34]

In September 2008, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, “Iran considered supporting the Palestinians its religious and national duty and would stay beside the Palestinian nation until the big victory feast which is the collapse of the Zionist regime (Israel).”[35]

Posted by dan at January 14, 2009 3:21 PM