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September 15, 2016 4:59 am

Is the Iranian Red Crescent Active in the Gaza Strip?

avatar by Elder of Ziyon

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Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Iranian Red Crescent (IRC) recently announced that it had given meat to 25,000 Gaza families for the Eid al-Adha holiday.

It seems strange that the Iranian organization would work directly with Israel to import the meat, but I have not heard about any imports from Egypt lately.

In fact, I had not heard of the Iranian Red Crescent being present in Gaza altogether until this story. A few years ago, it made noise about sending an aid ship to Gaza; that plan was scrapped when Egypt didn’t allow the ship to dock. And during the 2014 Gaza war, the IRC announced an aid shipment. That’s about it.

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Based on the photos and the articles I could find, my guess is that this is a new initiative whereby Iran has recruited job-starved Gazans to start a propaganda campaign around support for Gaza.

The photos on the website linked above do not indicate an operation that could feed 25,000 people for three days. It looks like the situation was created just for the photo-op, not to give any serious quantities of food to anyone.

I suspect that Iran, alarmed at the possibility of a Palestinian election (that has since been postponed) wants to have a more direct line of influence in Gaza than through its usual clients (Islamic Jihad and parts of Hamas). After all, a large part of its strategy is to demonize Israel, and the quiet lately on the Israel-Palestinian front has not been in Iran’s interests. In a time-honored tradition, Tehran is trying to advance its goals through charity organizations — real or imagined — and getting press coverage about how much it supports Gaza and the Palestinian “resistance.”

This is admittedly conjecture, but there is certainly more behind this story than mere meat.

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