This op-ed, written by Written by Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, Director of AJC Europe, originally appeared in Express UK

A prominent example is a “rapid deployment” force of 6,500 men by Hamas, funded by Tehran to the tune of £200million to £250million annually since 2006. It is all blood money.

It is the blood of more than 1,400 Israeli men, women, children and babies murdered by terrorists, and the blood of more than 2,200 who were wounded in Israel. But it is also the blood of thousands of Palestinians killed or injured as Israel – exercising its right to defend itself – attacked targets in Gaza.

Iranian security officials reportedly assisted in planning Hamas’ attack, giving the green light for the assault at a recent meeting in Beirut.

One-third of Gazans live in extreme poverty, the Palestinian Bureau of Central Statistics says. Hamas has had little appetite to improve education, infrastructure and medical care in Gaza.

When Iran exchanged several prisoners with the US in return for £4.9billion, ostensibly for humanitarian aid, Tehran seems to have interpreted this financial transaction as a tacit approval to carry out extreme operations.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei all-but-telegraphed the invasion in an enigmatic post on X: “The usurper regime is nearing its end.”

He has delighted in Israel’s internal tensions.

But Israel’s alignment with nations that have pushed cooperation and peace in the region – Bahrain, UAE and Morocco – and the prospect of Israel normalising relations with Iran’s archrival, Saudi Arabia, may have been a secondary motive.

The attacks transcend the Palestinian cause of self-determination.

While mirroring the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ penchant for sadistic violence, Hamas underscores Iran’s resolve to oppose an emerging axis, inflame the Arab streets and quench any semblance of peace.

No less than the future of the Middle East and the world order as we know it is at stake.