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Messages Reveal Hamas Leader’s Ultimate Goal In War Against Israel — Let As Many Palestinians Die As Possible

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The top leader of Hamas wanted to use Palestinian civilian deaths in the ongoing Gaza war to create leverage against Israel, according to messages reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Yahya Sinwar, believed to be the architect of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack against Israel, has become a key player in the ongoing war in Gaza and the terrorist group’s refusal to accept a ceasefire deal. Messages sent by Sinwar throughout the war reveal that he believed Hamas should continue fighting as long as possible, as the civilians left dead in the war were “necessary sacrifices” in fostering criticism against Israel and creating international pressure on the Israeli government to end the war, the WSJ reported on Tuesday.

“We have the Israelis right where we want them,” Sinwar told Hamas officials in a recent message, as reviewed by the WSJ.

Sinwar has been involved with Hamas for decades, eventually taking command of the group in Gaza in 2017 and threatening to “break the neck” of anyone who stood in the way, including Palestinian coalitions in the region that the terrorist group had seized control from nearly two decades ago, according to the WSJ.

“We make the headlines only with blood,” Sinwar said in an interview in 2018, according to the WSJ. “No blood, no news.”

Israel has been searching for Sinwar since he disappeared after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks against Israel, which he helped plan and execute. Part of the reason Sinwar wanted to attack Israel was because he believed it would revitalize the global importance of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Arab and Hamas officials with close knowledge of Sinwar’s beliefs told the WSJ.

The chaos of the Oct. 7 attacks apparently caught Sinwar off-guard, as he relayed in a message early in the war that “things went out of control,” according to the WSJ. Sinwar scolded Hamas officials in one December message for having secret talks with Palestinian leaders over a postwar plan, calling their discussions “shameful and outrageous.”

“As long as fighters are still standing and we have not lost the war, such contacts should be immediately terminated,” Sinwar said, according to the WSJ. “We have the capabilities to continue fighting for months.”

Ceasefire negotiations between Hamas and Israel through international mediators continued into 2024, and by February Israel had set an ultimatum that it would invade southern Gaza if a deal wasn’t reached by March. Sinwar told Hamas officials in a message not to accept a temporary ceasefire deal — which was what was on the table at the time — and instead urged them to only accept a permanent ceasefire, claiming that the high civilian death toll would turn the heat up on Israel, according to the WSJ.

A temporary ceasefire deal was not reached, and fighting continued as Israel expanded operations toward the southern region of Gaza. When Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh’s children were killed in an Israeli airstrike in April, Sinwar wrote in a letter that their deaths and the deaths of the Palestinians would “infuse life into the veins of this nation, prompting it to rise to its glory and honor,” according to the WSJ.

Gaza’s health ministry estimates that over 30,000 civilians and fighters in Gaza have been killed since the Israel-Hamas war broke out on Oct. 7, though that number has often been called into question as the health ministry is run by Hamas. The United Nations’ Security Council (UNSC) passed a U.S.-led resolution on Monday calling for a permanent ceasefire in the conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that it is now on Sinwar to decide whether or not Hamas will accept the deal. Sinwar had not made any public statements on the deal as of Tuesday.

“We have to move forward on the same path we started,” Sinwar wrote in a recent message to partners, according to the WSJ.

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