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Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Jenin, Psychological Warfare, and the West’s Perceptual Failure

Filed under: Iran, Iranian Terrorism
Publication: Jerusalem Issue Briefs

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Jenin, Psychological Warfare, and the West’s Perceptual Failure
This “final solution” poster appeared on Supreme Leader Khamenei’s website in 2020. Featured in the picture are flags of Iran, Palestine, Hizbullah, and other militias, as well as pictures of Khomeini, Soleimani, and others.

Institute for Contemporary Affairs

Founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation

Vol. 23, No. 8

  • Foreign media coverage of the events in Jenin have erroneously reported that the Iranian regime’s recent terror and influence operations in the city were a “Palestinian-Israeli clash.”

  • Yet statements by Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, senior IRGC officials, and the regime’s official news agencies – documented here – present the broader strategic implementation of the IRGC’s West Bank operations. Statements from Palestinian officials also support the IRGC’s operations program.

  • There is a clear need to change the false narrative of young Palestinian freedom fighters struggling against the “Zionist occupier” to a more accurate narrative that reflects a carefully planned, Iranian regime-backed initiative that supports and directs Palestinian terror activity from the West Bank against Israeli civilians.

  • The battle in the West Bank, and Jenin specifically, is not an Israeli-Palestinian conflict per se but part of a more significant Iranian-Israeli conflict, part of Iran’s plans to support and build up terror capabilities along Israel’s borders and in Gaza and the West Bank.

  • This document underscores the need for Israel to wage a soft power war of perception alongside its counter-terror operations in Jenin to eliminate the IRGC-supported Palestinian terrorist nests there.

  • Simultaneously, Israel must provide the Palestinians with the evidence that what matters to the present Iranian regime is not Palestinian welfare, but the Shiite revolution.

This document assesses Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) strategy of conducting both terror assaults and ideological and media warfare against the State of Israel. This analysis focuses on the IRGC’s recent terror and influence operations in the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank city of Jenin, whose media effect is reflected via a survey of international media outlets.

This document was written in response to the foreign media coverage of the events in Jenin, which erroneously reported that the Iranian regime’s supported assault was a “Palestinian-Israeli clash,” reinforced by IRGC and Palestinian proxy accusations that “Israeli forces are happy to kill Palestinian children.”

This political warfare event can be easily refuted. Over the past decade, media citations from the Iranian regime have been documented to present the IRGC’s West Bank operations and its broader strategic implementation.

The facts are presented in a chronological flow chart of statements by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, senior IRGC officials, and in the regime’s official news agencies, as well as statements by regime supporters, as part of a campaign to engineer public opinion in the regime’s official daily news outlets.

This assessment provides statements from Palestinian officials supporting the IRGC’s influence operations program. All relevant actors, from the IRGC to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, point openly to Iran’s IRGC Quds Force former commander Qassem Soleimani as the ultimate Iranian strategist in arming, training, and influencing Palestinian terrorists in Jenin and elsewhere for the armed struggle and ideological war against Israel.

There is a clear need to act immediately to change the false, yet accepted, Western narrative—moving from the account of young Palestinian freedom fighters struggling against the “Zionist occupier” to a more accurate narrative that reflects a carefully planned, Iranian regime-backed initiative that supports and directs Palestinian terror activity from the West Bank against Israeli civilians.

The accepted but false and misleading Western media narrative, “Israeli forces are happy to kill children,” must be corrected to reflect the actual situation:

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps executed a well-planned campaign to train, direct, finance, and inspire Palestinian terror operatives to kill Israeli civilians.

Statements of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

The following statements are by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who heads the armed forces of the Islamic Republic and determines IRGC’s activity in Iran and abroad.1 The first declaration by Ali Khamenei that we found on the issue of arming the West Bank was on July 23, 2014, in an address he gave to students on Jerusalem Day. He emphasized arming the West Bank:2

Therefore, I believe, this is my belief, that the West Bank must be armed like Gaza. There is a need for power. Those who care about the fate of Palestine and can act must arm the residents. The only thing that can decrease the suffering of the Palestinians is for them to have power and be able to exercise that power…

On October 16, 2014,3 he asserted that “one of the necessary endeavors is to plan for the West Bank to join Gaza in the conflict with the occupying regime. This is a basic project.”

Later that year, on November 25,4 he proclaimed that the arming of the West Bank transcends religious disputes within Islam:

With God’s help, we have gone beyond the religious disputes… Just as we have helped Shiite Hizbullah, we have helped Hamas and Jihad and will help them more. We did not say this is Shiite or Sunni, Hanafi or Hanbali.5 I have proclaimed, and it will undoubtedly happen, that the West Bank must be armed like Gaza and be prepared to defend itself.

On April 29, 2022, in a speech on state television for Jerusalem Day, he referred explicitly to the people of the Jenin refugee camp while extolling the worldwide Islamic resistance,

You are the people who are in Palestine, you are the devoted young people in the West Bank and the territories of 1948, you are the fighters of the Jenin refugee camp. You are the residents of the refugee camps outside of Palestine. You are the important, sensitive, and leading part of the resistance entity.6

On January 1, 2023, in a speech to the family of Qassem Soleimani on the anniversary of his assassination, he expressed thanks for Soleimani’s role in leading the Palestinian terror organizations’ armed struggle against Israel:7

Soleimani’s main endeavor was to maintain the resistance, expand it, arm it, and revitalize the spiritual and the material aspect of the resistance. He increased their power materially. We have not forgotten, and I, in my speeches in those years, remarked that Palestinians fight with stones. They had no other weapons. Compare that to the situation of Palestine today, both in Gaza and the West Bank… In other words, Soleimani breathed life into the resistance, relying on Iran’s resources and his experience from the years of war with Iraq. He made a huge effort in this sphere, and it is our duty to continue it.

On April 22, 2023, in his meeting with the regime’s leadership and foreign ambassadors, he said:

Today, the Islamic world’s strategy toward Palestine must be to aid the internal forces there. The efforts of the resistance front everywhere are of value. Just as we concern ourselves with the problem of Palestine, these efforts must focus on strengthening the militant elements who fight within Palestine itself and thereby endanger their lives.8

PIJ’s Secretary-General Ziyad Nakhalah with Ayatollah Khamenei in June 2023.
PIJ’s Secretary-General Ziyad Nakhalah with Ayatollah Khamenei in June 2023.
Supreme Leader Khamenei with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Salah Arouri
The Secretary-General of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, and the West Bank military coordinator, Saleh al-Aruri, met with Khamenei in Tehran, on June 14, 2023. (

On June 14 and 21, 2023, in his meetings with the heads of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas, he said:

The constant strengthening of the resistance groups in the West Bank is the main key to defeating the Zionist enemy, and it is our duty to continue on this path.9

The focal point in defeating the enemy is the West Bank, and so far, there have been good developments in this area. Who would have imagined that a day would come in which Palestinian youths encircled members of the Zionist army in such a way that they had to use warplanes to escape the siege of the fighting youths? But that happened several days ago.

Statements by the IRGC Leadership

Indeed, following Khamenei’s statements about the need to arm the West Bank for a confrontation with Israel, statements by the IRGC leadership were issued on different occasions10 from then to the present.

On July 26, 2014, General Ahmad Wahidi, former commander of the Quds Force (currently interior minister in the Raisi government), said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency:

The arming of the West Bank is a strategic innovation of the Supreme Leader that will alter the course of events in Palestine….The Islamic governments and the supporters of the Palestinian people must make every effort not only to arm the West Bank but the 1948 territories as well….The Iranian government is expected to strive as much as necessary to fulfill the Leader’s vision, support Palestine with all its might and in all regards, and arm the West Bank.11

On August 8, 2014, General Masoud Jazayeri, former spokesman of the Iranian Armed Forces, said:

Amid strategic changes in the nature of the struggle against Israel by the people in the occupied territories, and especially the West Bank residents, the occupiers will encounter new challenges.12

On August 10, 2014, General Hossein Salami, commander of the IRGC, said:

Undoubtedly, the West Bank, too, will follow the example of the Gaza Strip, arming itself and becoming a battle arena. Indeed, for now, they are fighting with stones, but in Gaza, too, at first, they fought with stones, and now they have missiles and drones. It will happen in the West Bank, too.13

On August 11, 2014, General Masoud Jazayeri said:

The countdown has begun for a change in the approach to the conflict in the West Bank… Undoubtedly the reverse migration in the occupied territories will increase as the struggle escalates, particularly in the West Bank.14

He also said on August 24, 2014:

The continuation of the war in Gaza will require stepped-up armament of the West Bank and the extinction of the occupiers. The way the occupiers of Quds [Jerusalem] fear the arming of the people and the West Bank resistance shows that they are very vulnerable to the struggle and to a new phase for the resistance… It appears that the development of the anti-Zionist struggle is something that cannot be prevented or controlled, an irreversible process.15

On August 26, 2014, General Hossein Salami, the IRGC commander, said:

The arming of the West Bank means the Zionist regime will be erased automatically because they have no geographic space or spiritual strength to speak of. They are now isolated and under siege. They were built from a population that came from different corners of the globe, and as the flames of the fire overcome them, a wave of reverse migration will result, and the emptying of the occupied territories will continue.16

On August 27, 2014, General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, operations coordinator of the IRGC, said:

The arming of the West Bank has begun, and there is a consensus of all humanity on aid to the Palestinians….The arming of the West Bank will cause the elimination of Israel. This arming has already begun as weapons are conveyed to the residents of the area.17

Naqdi was also present at a military exercise of nomadic tribes in the city of Kermanshah on September 19, 2014. He claimed that Iran’s nomadic tribes would spearhead the army to liberate Jerusalem. After him, Dost Ali Azawi, chairman of the Basij organization of nomadic tribes, spoke. He said: “Nomadic tribes in Iran provided weapons to General Naqdi with which to arm the Palestinians residing in the West Bank.”18

On October 20, 2014, General Hossein Dehghan, a former Iranian defense minister, said:

There is a need to clarify an important point about the Islamic Republic’s plans to arm the West Bank. What the Supreme Leader said on this issue is from the overall policy of the regime, and so the organizations entrusted with it will carry out their mission in this regard.19

On August 20, 2022, General Hossein Salami, commander of the IRGC, gave a lengthy interview on the Supreme Leader’s website. He set forth the regime’s vision of an all-out conflict with Israel from all sides that will take place and emphasized the need for the conquest of territories by ground forces and not necessarily with missiles. He also spoke of the West Bank:

The struggle in the occupied territories has expanded to all the arenas. Not only is Gaza currently engaged in resistance and confrontation, but this struggle has also moved to the West Bank as well… The West Bank is arming itself more and more against the Zionists.20

On January 17, 2023, General Ali Padavi, deputy commander of the IRGC, spoke at a memorial gathering for Soleimani and said:

As the Supreme Leader said, one of Soleimani’s great acts was that he filled the hands of the Palestinians… The courage and strength of the Palestinians was a vision that had to be fulfilled, and that was indeed what happened. Khomeini said that the West Bank must revolt, and indeed, at present, two-thirds of the IDF is bogged down in the West Bank.21

Padavi also addressed a commemoration of martyrs and said:

The heads of the occupying Zionist regime are afraid of the new growth of the resistance in the West Bank and its effect on the future of Palestine… Not much time has passed since the Supreme Leader decreed that the West Bank must be armed and see how, at present, the young people there are operating so well.22

On April 14, 2023, IRGC commander General Hossein Salami gave a speech at a Jerusalem Day demonstration in Isfahan. He declared:

The Palestinian nation received new life, and the West Bank was armed. Hidden hands have armed the West Bank, and the whole security puzzle is getting more complicated day by day.23

Salami also spoke on April 19, 2023, at an assembly for Army Day in Iran, and said:

Israel is currently under missile attack from Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza, and flames of rage are rising from the West Bank. The Zionist regime has surrounded itself with walls for hundreds of meters that perform security scans using sensors so powerful that no animal can pass through its borders. But unknown hands have armed the West Bank, and you see advanced automatic rifles and automatic weapons in the hands of Palestinians.24

On May 4, 2023, General Esmail Qaani, commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, gave a speech to seminary students and declared:

Before the West Bank was armed, the number of terror attacks each year was fewer than the fingers of two hands, but today the Palestinian youths, zealous from the lessons they have received from the resistance culture, enter the arena without fear of death.25

Qaani also met with a representative of Khamenei in the city of Qom on May 5, 2023. He said: “In 2014, the Leader of the Revolution gave the order to arm the West Bank, and this goal has been fulfilled through the efforts of the young people.”26

IRGC News Agencies

A news agency affiliated with the IRGC, Mashreq News, published an article on July 1, 2023, two days before Israel’s Operation House and Garden, under the headline “How the Leader’s promise in 2014 about arming the West Bank was fulfilled.” The article surveyed the preceding days’ events in the West Bank in general and in Jenin specifically. The author asserted that the West Bank had become a serious and growing threat to Israel, part of Israel’s entanglement in a major security crisis. The author claimed that members of armed groups recently formed in the West Bank had undergone considerable military training and could fight IDF soldiers.

At the end of the article, an implicit answer was given to the question implied in the headline with a quote from Khamenei’s words during Friday prayers in Tehran on February 3, 2012. In his speech, Khamenei denied Iran’s involvement in Bahrain’s civil turmoil and added:

We, in every place where we intervene, declare it publicly. We intervened in cases of resistance to Israel, and the results were victory over Israel in the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead. From this point forward, too, any state or any group that fights the Zionist regime—we will stand behind them and help them, and we have no fear of saying so.27

Statements by Palestinian Leaders about the Iranian Aid

On November 19, 2014, Moshir al-Masri, a member of the Palestinian parliament, was interviewed in Kayhan. He said: “As for the Leader of the Revolution’s demand to arm the West Bank, one must be thankful for this stance, and this demand must be fulfilled, and the Palestinian people in general and the West Bank residents, in particular, must arm themselves. They are capable of defeating the Zionist enemy and creating a new equation in the Middle East.”28

Ismail Haniyeh eulogizes Soleimani in Tehran
Hamas Political Bureau Chairman Ismail Haniyeh eulogized Soleimani in Tehran on January 6, 2020. (Iran Press)
Ismail Haniyeh and Ziad al-Nakhala
Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh and Ziyad al-Nakhalah, leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (in the yellow circle) stood behind Iran’s top leadership at Soleimani’s funeral. Bodyguards surround them.

On July 1, 2023, Ziyad al-Nakhalah, head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was interviewed by Al-Wafaq (an Arabic daily published in Iran). The IRGC-affiliated Mashreq News Agency published the interview. He emphasized:

Iran’s aid to the Palestinians has two aspects. One is the aid to the families of the martyrs and the prisoners, which has a humanitarian purpose. But the second aspect is in the military domain—the supply of different kinds of weapons and their transfer to Gaza and the West Bank, which, naturally, has high costs. Soleimani was always present in the arena and would monitor everything, from the training of the fighters to the transfer of the aid. When Khamenei spoke about arming the West Bank, he made an important point about the war with the enemy. This directive had a wonderful effect on our professionals and the resistance forces. Everyone cooperated to make a change, especially in the situation in the West Bank. And the focus was on changing the stagnant situation in the West Bank in the direction of active resistance as we witness today. The weapons supply to the West Bank is carried out through smuggling or acquiring the weapons from Israelis.29

A Palestinian network anchor posted a tweet in which she criticized the Iranians for, amid Operation House and Garden and as Palestinians were being killed, busying themselves with bragging about their great military power. The tweet sparked a massive onslaught of condemnations from Palestinian surfers who attacked her and reminded her that everything the resistance has is thanks to Iran. Later, in another tweet, she clarified her words and said that she greatly appreciates Iran’s efforts on behalf of the Palestinians in the resistance to Israel but is not happy that Iranians take all the credit for the resistance for themselves.30


Global public opinion has failed to perceive the conflict in Jenin as between IRGC trained and funded Palestinian terror operatives and the IDF. Instead, the success of the Palestinian and Iranian regime influence campaign is evident in the BBC’s reporting that “Israeli forces are happy to kill children,” as broadcast during former prime minister Bennett’s prime time interview.

Khamenei’s doctrine on IRGC’s arming West Bank terrorists against Israel is evident from statements in his speeches since 2014. The statements of IRGC officials over the years point to the implementation of the Ayatollah’s directive.

Khamenei, IRGC officials, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad officials all refer openly to the arming and training of the West Bank by Soleimani. Also evident is the importance the regime ascribes to perceptual engineering and nominal public support for arms and assistance to the Palestinian armed struggle, as reflected in the regime’s media outlets. This comes despite Iranian public opposition to the regime’s misapplication of funds due to the public suffering from poverty and hunger.

It also appears that the Israeli perceptual effort, if it exists, does not amplify the narrative that the battle in the West Bank, and Jenin specifically, is not an Israeli-Palestinian conflict per se but part of a more significant Iranian-Israeli conflict, part of Iran’s plans to support and build up terror capabilities along Israel’s borders and in Gaza and the West Bank.

Viewing the outcomes of Iran’s arming and training of the Palestinian terror operatives in the West Bank, as compared to the media declarations by Salami and other IRGC officials that “the Zionists have no safe place in occupied Palestine,” about “reverse migration,” and different kinds of threats, then we see the absolute failure of the Iranian plan as the results of the Iranian arming and training are very limited.

This document underscores the need for Israel to wage a soft power war of perception alongside its counter-terror in Jenin to eliminate the IRGC-supported Palestinian terrorist nests there.

Policy Recommendations

This analysis identified the references, public declarations, quotes, and statements by Khamenei, the IRGC, and others regarding the clear connection between the IRGC’s arming and training of its West Bank proxies, as evidenced in the terror nests in Jenin.

The Iranian regime’s influence machine, alongside the Palestinian one, has successfully built the narrative of children liberating Palestine with stones against the “Zionist occupiers.” The time has come to engage in the perceptual war at all costs. Proof of military funding, armament, training, and financing of martyrs by the IRGC stands before us, and in the perceptual struggle, all one needs is a presentation of the proof.

The main requirement is to act internationally, with all the difficulty entailed in the advanced perception struggle.

Simultaneously, Israel must provide the Palestinians with the evidence that what matters to the present Iranian regime is not Palestinian welfare, but rather the Shiite revolution. Quotes like the following from Sheikh Hujat Al Islam Hamid Kahsani must be publicized: “A Palestinian family that sacrifices seven of its members in the struggle to free Al-Quds, but didn’t do so for in the name of the Shia, all died in vain.”31

We must also provide the Iranian people – who today face a deep economic crisis – with the financial data detailing IRGC’s expenditures to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and other organizations in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.

In taking the offensive in the arena of international perception, Israel must highlight the quantum leap in active and overt Iranian activity since the beginning of 2022 and not only in funding West Bank terror activity against Israel but in all arenas, including the perception and influence operations that have co-opted the Western discourse.

A prevailing opinion is that this phenomenon stems from what the Iranians see as the weakening of American resolve since Biden was elected,32 the resurgence of the nuclear program, the failure to implement the sanctions against Iran, and a dramatic rise in Iranian oil exports from Trump’s tenure to Biden’s33 (which enables the financing of expanded IRGC activity). With so much data now under scrutiny, we must shine the spotlight and broadcast the real message:

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has engineered a hybrid war that combines ideological warfare terrorism and influence operations to achieve its goal of eliminating Israel from the Middle East map.

* * *


* The author would like to thank Avraham. M. of the Iranian Desk for his assistance in preparing this document.

  1. On the IRGC’s organizational structure, see a series of studies published on the Iranwire site:↩︎




  5. It should be noted that here Khamenei spares his listeners his personal preference for Shiite-affiliated organizations. In an article about Palestinian Islamic Jihad published on March 29, 2021, on the website of the Association for the Defense of the Palestinian People, an entity established in Iran with Khamenei’s encouragement that strongly backs Palestinian Islamic Jihad among the other armed Palestinian organizations, the author asserted that in the West Bank there is a greater inclination to the Shiite branch of Islam, and hence Palestinian Islamic Jihad has more supporters there. He cited this fact as one of the reasons why Palestinian Islamic Jihad did not succeed to expand like its competitor Hamas, which is a Sunni organization. See↩︎





  10. It should be noted that because of the large number of such statements over the years, in editing this report we basically relied on items published in the Kayhan daily, which is the mouthpiece of the Supreme Leader and takes the same line as the IRGC. Likewise, we focused on statements that were made at times in which articles about the West Bank by the Leader were published.↩︎













  23. 87-%D9%82%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D9%85%DB%8C-%DA%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1%D9%86%D8%AF-%D9%81%D9%84%D8%B3%D8%B7%DB%8C%D9%86↩︎








  31. Bisimchi Media, a telegram network affiliated with the IRGC.↩︎


  33. According to the energy consulting firm SVB International, Iran’s crude oil exports in December stood at an average of 1.137 million barrels per day. This is an increase of 42,000 from November, and the highest figure that SVB reported for 2022↩︎