Iran’s Involvement in the October 7 Onslaught

Last week, the IDF publicized documents found in a captured tunnel beneath Gaza that record the transfer of $154 million from the Iranian government to Hamas. This discovery fills in the details of what has long been known to anyone paying attention: that the Palestinian terrorist group relies heavily on support from Tehran. But what is somewhat less clear is the role Iran had in the actual planning and orchestration of the October 7 attacks.

Kyle Orton provides a forensic breakdown of publicly available information about this question, arguing that the Islamic Republic’s involvement went far beyond providing funds and arms, and explaining why statements to the contrary from unnamed CIA sources should be taken with a grain of salt. Iran, writes Orton, has every reason to deny its involvement:

The whole purpose of Iran’s revolutionary imperialist model . . . is to provide “deniability” for its operations so that it does not directly pay the price for its adventurism. Why the West continues to agree to play by Iran’s rules is a separate issue, but suffice it to say the “official” statements from the “Axis of Resistance,” [i.e., Iran, Syria, and their allied terrorist groups], were always going to lead away from Iran’s responsibility for October 7.

The most damning piece of evidence regards the participation of Esmail Qaani, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) responsible for directing Tehran’s various proxy forces. He met with a war room established in Beirut in 2021 to coordinate activities among Hizballah and various Palestinian terrorist groups:

The day after the October 7 pogrom the Wall Street Journal reported, citing “senior members of Hamas and Hizballah,” that the IRGC had worked intensively with Hamas in the final two months before the invasion of Israel to refine the plan, and gave the final “green light” for the assault at a meeting in Beirut on October 2.

The Journal documented that the Quds Force, [the IRGC’s expeditionary corps], frequently represented by Esmail Qaani personally, had gathered . . . the Hamas military chief Saleh al-Arouri, Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Ziyad al-Nakhala, and officials from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine for “biweekly” meetings in Lebanon, starting in August 2023, to discuss their roles in the October 7 atrocity, and how they would deal with the aftermath. . . .

The formation of the Joint Operations Chamber last summer, the planning meetings for the pogrom beginning in August 2023, the specialized combat training in Iran itself for hundreds of Palestinian terrorists in the weeks before October 7, the timing, the provision of weapons, the intelligence training to deceive Israel, the relentless flow of money, . . . show the direct, intricate control Iran had over every aspect at every stage of the preparation and execution of the atrocities on that awful Saturday morning.

Read more at It Can Always Get Worse

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Hizballah, Iran

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security