How Hamas’s attack on Israel served Iran’s interests
Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel was unprecedented in its scale and horror. Thousands of armed Hamas fighters, backed by rockets, attacked Israeli towns near Gaza, killing civilians and Israeli soldiers, and taking hundreds of hostages. Children were not spared. Families were executed. Israeli officials estimate that “the fighting has killed more than 1,400 people in Israel” since that date. Thousands more have been injured.
Hamas, which has been designated by the United States as a terrorist organization since the 1990s, issued this purported reasoning for the attacks, a list of grievances that in no way justified its actions:
“Hamas has said it was motivated to launch the attack essentially as the culmination of long-building anger over Israeli policy, including recent outbreaks of violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, but more generally over the treatment of Palestinians and the expansion of Israeli settlements.”
The “recent outbreaks of violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem” includes the April 2023 arrests of hundreds of worshipers (or agitators, depending on whom you ask) who, armed with fireworks and stones, refused to leave the premises; and the alleged entry of Israeli settlers into Al-Aqsa mosque in early October 2023, which triggered protests in Gaza led by Hamas.
There are also the flashes of violence between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank this summer. In June, Palestinian gunmen killed four Israeli civilians, leading to violent responses by settlers. Deadly gun battles took place between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in Jenin. Adding to the tension was the planned expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The plans were “sharply condemned” by the Biden Administration. Hamas “said the move would only escalate tensions in the region.”
But it is hard to believe Hamas’s official statement. Violence in the West Bank, expansion of Israeli settlements, and mostly non-violent happenings at Al-Aqsa are all relatively routine for the region, and they are typically followed by predictable responses from Hamas. The October 7 attack, by comparison, was unparalleled.
If one looks at the history of Hamas, and the purpose by which it conducts its terrorist operations, it’s apparent there’s more to the story. The timing of the attacks might reveal Hamas’s true intentions – those that serve its longtime benefactor, Iran.