The warming relationship between the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip and Tehran is on display at a joint event to be held in the Iranian capital and Gaza on Monday.
Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, will be speaking in Tehran, and his address will be carried via satellite to the Gaza Strip. Soleimani will be addressing the "Wet Gunpowder" festival that Iran has been organizing and holding for several years at various sites around the Middle East.
In Gaza, Soleimani's speech will be shown at the Commodore Hotel. Hamas officials are expected to watch his address at the hotel.
The Israeli army ridiculed Soleimani's expected speech on social media Monday with a post on the Arabic-language Facebook page of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.
"What Soleimani will be talking about is anybody's guess the development of the Strip? Rebuilding its offices and homes? Increasing the electricity supply? Water? Help for the needy?" the post said. "Iran has invested considerable funding in Hamas, but not in Gaza Strip itself or in is residents. Soleimani doesn't care about the people of Syria and he doesn’t care about the Gazans – who should shake themselves awake before the Gaza Strip turns into a neighborhood of Tehran."
This is not the first time the ties between and Gaza faction, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are publically displayed. A number of Hamas leaders, including Yahya Sinwar, have spoken about it more than once, and so has the spokesman of Hamas' military wing.
In December, Hezbollah al-Manar television reported that Soleimani had talked with the military chiefs of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, and had heard their assessments about conflict with Israel. Soleimani reportedly promised full support for the resistance forces in the Gaza Strip.
After his appointment, Salah al-Arouri, deputy head of Hamas' political wing, visited Tehran and met with senior Iranian officials, including Soleimani.