Both Israeli and Palestinian security officials say Hezbollah has been operating behind the scenes in the West Bank since 2000, pumping millions of dollars into militant groups for attacks against Israel.
Citing security officials, the International Herald Tribune reported recently that the Iran-sponsored terrorist organization is working directly with leaders of Palestinian terrorist groups, including Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.
One Al Alqsa leader in Nablus said his group used to receive $8,000 a month to buy weapons and ammunition. Hezbollah stopped making payments when Al Aqsa men accepted an amnesty offer from Israel, but Israel says Al Aqsa terrorists are still in contact with Hezbollah.
Apparently Hezbollah’s presence inside the Palestinian territories has burgeoned since the recent assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, a notorious terrorist poster child and the mastermind responsible for numerous attacks and kidnappings around the world.
Last week, during the funeral of Mohammed Shehadeh and three other Islamic Jihad terrorists killed by Israel, mourners chanted “Hezbollah is coming.” In another sign of their sympathy for Hezbollah, Shehadeh’s family wrapped his body in a Hezbollah flag.
Shehadeh was the head of Islamic Jihad in Bethlehem and was involved in several terrorist attacks against Israel in the past, including a car bombing that killed two civilians in Jerusalem. Although never an official member of Hezbollah, he identified with the Lebanese terrorists and became a Shiite Muslim to show his support of the group. He took orders from Islamic Jihad leadership in Syria, which also backs Hezbollah.
According to Haaretz, Shehadeh’s son did not deny his family received a call from Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah’s office after his father’s death in which they were offered financial assistance.
Hezbollah links are becoming more apparent in east Jerusalem as well. A Hezbollah flag briefly accompanied Hamas banners in east Jerusalem at the house of the Palestinian terrorist responsible for shooting eight Israeli students in the city two weeks ago.
Palestinian officials say the man was a member of the Free Men of Galilee Brigade, a group they say is a front for Hezbollah. According to Palestinian security official Maj. Gen. Raji al-Nijmi, “This name [Free Men of Galilee Brigade] is a lie, it’s just Hezbollah playing politics.”
Hezbollah gained popularity among Palestinians when the guerilla force caused Israel to withdraw from Lebanon in 2000, and it soared even higher after it defeated Israel in the Second Lebanon War. But you can be sure that if Hezbollah is supporting and influencing terrorist groups in the Palestinian territories, Iran is behind it. For Tehran, using Palestinian militants is an ideal means of interfering and attacking Israel without attracting international attention to itself—and while simultaneously diverting attention away from its nuclear program. Iran is spreading its influence all around Israel’s borders; Israel is quickly becoming completely surrounded by Iranian proxies.
To the north, Israel faces a Hezbollah prepared for war with a renewed rocket arsenal that promises to do major damage to Israel’s home front in any future conflict. To the south, Israel is still dealing with Iranian-backed Hamas, whose attacks against Israel have become steadily more deadly since its hostile takeover in Gaza.
Right now, the only thing stopping Iranian-backed Hezbollah from openly operating in the West Bank is the Israel Defense Forces. If Hezbollah succeeds and expands Iran’s influence in the West Bank, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will become more volatile than it has ever been before.Watch for Iran to continue to spread its tentacles throughout the Middle East in a bid to become the regional power. To learn how this relates to Bible prophecy, read The King of the South.