OpinionIsrael at War

How Iran directly assisted Hamas’s assault on Israel

What will it take for the U.S. and its allies to grasp that the appeasement of the Iranian regime is read by the mullahs and their proxies as weakness?

Then-Hamas deputy political chief Salah al-Arouri presents an image of Jerusalem to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran, July 22, 2019. Source: Screenshot.
Then-Hamas deputy political chief Salah al-Arouri presents an image of Jerusalem to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran, July 22, 2019. Source: Screenshot.
(Twitter)
Khaled Abu Toameh
Khaled Abu Toameh is an award winning Arab and Palestinian Affairs journalist formerly with The Jerusalem Post. He is Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a Fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

The Biden administration insists that it does not have any evidence of Iran’s “direct” involvement in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. The Biden administration has apparently totally dismissed the Wall Street Journal report of Oct. 9, “Iran Helped Plot Attack on Israel Over Several Weeks,” as well as The Washington Post’s “Hamas received weapons and training from Iran, officials say.”

Hamas leaders have indeed long been boasting of the financial and military aid they receive from Iran to enable them to pursue the jihad (holy war) to slaughter Jews and extinguish Israel. Based on the statements of these leaders, it is abundantly clear that without Iran’s support, and reported planning, Hamas could not have carried out the massacre of Israelis near the border with the Gaza Strip.

Unlike the U.S. administration, a growing number of Arabs are convinced that Iran is the “head of the snake” and that it was involved, deeply, in the Hamas massacre. These Arabs have taken to social media platforms to voice their outrage over the Iranian regime’s responsibility for the assault.

Hamas’s representative in Lebanon, Ahmed Abdulhadi, revealed last week that his group coordinated with Iran and its Lebanese terror proxy Hezbollah before and during the massacre.

“We coordinated with Hezbollah and with Iran and the Axis [of Resistance] before, during and after the battle at the highest level,” Abdulhadi said in an interview with Newsweek.

On Oct. 12, Abdulhadi was among a number of Hamas officials who went to Beirut Airport to welcome Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. “We came to Beirut Airport to welcome the Iranian foreign minister and thank him for Iran’s solidarity with Palestine,” Abdulhadi told reporters.

Abdulhadi and other Hamas officials have been holding regular meetings with Iranian officials in Beirut and Tehran over the past few years. Last month, the Iranian foreign minister said after a closed meeting with leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Beirut that Iran remains committed to supporting the Palestinian “resistance and the liberation [of Palestine].”

When Iranian officials talk about supporting the Palestinian “resistance,” they are referring to atrocities such as the ones inflicted by Hamas on Oct. 7.

Another Hamas official, Ali Baraka, told Russia’s state-run RT outlet that his group had secretly planned the assault for two years and did not inform any other factions or allies, including Iran and Hezbollah, of the “zero hour.” Baraka confirmed that Iran “gives us money and weapons.”

Hamas has never concealed the fact that it receives financial and military support from Iran. In 2020, senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar revealed that Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the slain commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, had handed him $22 million at their first meeting in 2006.

Al-Zahar said that when he was appointed as Hamas’s foreign minister, he met with then Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and presented several demands to him, which the Iranian president referred to Soleimani.

In 2021, senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan said that “what has been revealed about Soleimani’s role in supporting the Palestinian resistance is only a small part so far.” Hamdan disclosed that Soleimani had sent “Kornet” anti-tank guided missiles to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, said in 2017 that Soleimani had “contacted us and put all of Iran’s military and technological capabilities at our disposal.” According to Sinwar, Soleimani communicated with Hamas, which carried out the Oct. 7 carnage in Israel, as well as Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and offered to help them in their jihad against Israel.

“We are with every alliance that will serve the Palestinian national cause and serve the resistance of our people,” Sinwar added.

Hamas’s savage assault on Israel came in the framework of the Iranian pledge, since its 1979 Islamic Revolution, to eliminate “the Zionist entity.” Iran’s supreme leader, president and other senior officials have repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel. The Oct. 7 attack, in addition, also seems to be part of Iran’s efforts to prevent normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia or any Arab state.

Palestinian politician Jihad al-Khaizaran said that the assault marked “the beginning of a war to liberate the Palestinian territories and eliminate the Zionist entity.” Al-Khaizaran told the Saudi newspaper Okaz: “The Palestinian resistance has been preparing for the operation for a long time.”

While many in the West chose to disregard Iran’s role in arming, training and funding Hamas and PIJ, the same cannot be said about a large number of Arabs who have long been warning of Tehran’s expansionist actions in the Middle East. Some of those Arabs have been openly talking about how Iran uses its proxies to wreak havoc not only on Israel, but on Arab countries. Through its proxies, the Iranian regime now effectively occupies Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, in addition to the Gaza Strip. The Arabs, in short, see clearly what many Westerners apparently do not want to.

Without Iran’s support, Hamas would not have been able to hold on to power in the Gaza Strip since 2007. At that time, the terror group staged a bloody coup against Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, killing hundreds of his loyalists.

Without Iran’s backing, Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups would not have been able to fire tens of thousands of rockets into Israel.

Without Iran, Hezbollah would not be as powerful as it is in Lebanon, where it is armed with hundreds of thousands of rockets that are ready to be launched at Israel at any moment.

Mansour al-Malik, a petroleum engineer from Saudi Arabia, wrote on October 8:

“Hamas is an organization affiliated with the clerical regime in Iran, just like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, and it is the same axis that threatens Saudi Arabia and Kuwait day and night. We differentiate between a just cause and a terrorist axis.”

Kuwaiti political analyst Talal al-Ghazi wrote:

“Hamas’s relations with Iran have been in place since its [Hamas’s] founding. Hamas’s relations with Iran have been since 1990, when they [Hamas] pledged allegiance to Iran and opened an office in Tehran. No one should tell us that Hamas turned to Iran because the Arabs abandoned it. The Arabs did not support Hamas because it is an arm of Iran.”

Egyptian Middle East expert Huda Raouf commented: “Iran has denied any connection to the [Hamas] military operation, but indicators prove otherwise.”

“It is well known that Iran has established a relationship with non-state actors and armed groups in the Arab countries, as it provided them with financial and military support and training in a way that created entities parallel to the state institutions. Likewise, the relationship with Hamas was a major key for Iran to influence the Palestinian issue in a way that makes it extend its influence,” said Raouf.

Tehran’s mullahs are afraid that rapprochement between the Arab states and Israel would isolate the Iranian regime regionally, she wrote, and “[Iran] also wants to deliver messages that it can obstruct any efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”

On Oct. 12, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) published a report titled:

“Iranian Regime Mouthpiece Kayhan: Iran Is The Mind And Hands Behind Hamas; Operation ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’ Was Planned, Orchestrated By Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani Before He Was Killed; Khamenei Hinted In August 2022, August 2023 At ‘The Complete Conquest’ Of Israel.”

The next day, Oct. 13, MEMRI published another report, titled:

“Iranian Website Asr-e Calls On Iranians Not To Speak Out On Iranian Involvement In ‘The Hamas-Israel Conflict’ – For Fear Of Harming Iranian Interests and International Status.”

The report ends:

“It should be noted that in its October 10, 2023 editorial, the regime mouthpiece Kayhan took pride in Iran’s involvement in the attack by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas against Israel. It attributed the planning of the attack to IRGC Qods Force Commander Qasem Soleimani, prior to his January 2020 assassination in a U.S. airstrike, and it said that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had said in an August 2023 speech that a big victory was on the horizon.”

The Biden administration appears to be acting as if nothing will stop it from failing to confront the Iranian regime, thereby ensuring that the regime will view the U.S. administration’s contortions as tacit permission to escalate its proxies’ aggression.

That, in fact, is one of the reasons countries have proxies: to deflect attention from themselves so they can sit back in comfort and claim “plausible deniability.”

What will it take for the United States and its allies to grasp that the appeasement of the Iranian regime is read by the mullahs and their proxies as weakness? If such appeasement continues, make no mistake: today, the carnage is in Israel; tomorrow, it will be in the United States and Europe.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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