‘We have Israelis right where we want them’: Yahya Sinwar’s cold calculation on rising Gaza deaths

NEW DELHI: Revealing the cold calculations of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar amid the rising death toll in the Israeli-Gaza war, correspondence obtained by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) between Sinwar and Hamas officials in Qatar, show that the militant group believes that civilian casualties in Gaza will help it politically.
According to the WSJ, Sinwar’s messages show he believes that images of dead Palestinians, even if killed by Hamas rockets misfiring, will turn world opinion against Israel and strengthen Hamas’s hand.He has instructed his forces to accept some civilian casualties as the price of battle and “necessary sacrifices”.
As per the report, Sinwar, while referring to the war recently wrote to Hamas officials negotiating a hostage deal: “We have the Israelis right where we want them.”
This is not the first time that Sinwar has aired such thoughts.
When the three sons of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh were killed in an Israel Air Force strike in Gaza in April, Sinwar affirmed both their deaths and that of other Palestinians would “infuse life into the veins of this nation, prompting it to rise to its glory and honor”.
Sinwar on children as hostages
The correspondence, however, also reveals that he did not approve of women and children being taken hostages during the deadly October 7 attack.
The WSJ report cites his messages to negotiators as saying, “Things went out of control”.
“People got caught up in this, and that shouldn’t have happened,” he wrote.
Sinwar was also reportedly discontent with Hamas officials meeting with other factions in December to debate reconciliation after the war, which he labeled “shameful and outrageous”.
He reportedly added: “As long as fighters are still standing and we have not lost the war, such contacts should be immediately terminated … We have the capabilities to continue fighting for months.”
Referring to the recent ground operation in Rafah that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Gazans, Sinwar wrote to Hamas leaders in Qatar that “Israel’s journey in Rafah won’t be a walk in the park”.
The WSJ report further noted that Sinwar’s recent messages to Hamas allies illustrate an inclination to die while fighting.
Sinwar equated the Gaza war to the battle of Karbala in Iraq, which occurred in the 7th century and in which the grandson of the prophet Muhammed was killed. “We have to move forward on the same path we started,” Sinwar said, adding “or let it be a new Karbala”.
More than 37,124 Palestinians have been killed and 84,712 have been injured in Israel’s military offensive on Gaza since October 7, the Gaza health ministry said in a statement on Monday.

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