Assessing Iran’s Role in Hamas’s Assault

As Jerusalem decides how to respond to the massive assault on its citizens, it will at some point consider whether—and how—to retaliate against Tehran, which, along with Qatar, is Hamas’s primary patron, and whose proxy, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, has been fighting alongside Hamas. Herb Keinon writes:

Last week, a senior Hamas commander was in Tehran with other Hamas figures and leaders of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Similar meetings between terror leaders and Iranian officials also reportedly took place last week in Damascus and Beirut. While Iran has long been providing support to Palestinian organizations, Tehran has an added incentive now to support this terrorism in the hopes that it will derail a budding Saudi Arabia-Israel normalization deal.

For Iran, a fierce Israeli response serves Iran’s purposes because it will fill the Arab and Islamic world with images of Israeli warplanes bombing Gaza, inevitably triggering pressure both within Saudi Arabia and from around the Islamic world not to sign a deal with a regime attacking the Gaza Strip.

After Palestinian terrorists murdered Batsheva Nigri near Hebron in late August, [Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated] that the current wave of terror “Is all guided by Iran, which is looking for any way to harm Israeli citizens.” Without providing any details, he said Israel “will take additional actions that will ensure the security of Israeli citizens and make those responsible pay a price.”

The question in light of Saturday’s massive attack is whether the sheer magnitude of this attack will compel the IDF to send a military message to Iran.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Hamas, Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Palestinian terror

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy