Hamas leader says ‘we have the Israelis right where we want them’ in leaked messages, WSJ reports – MASHAHER

ISLAM GAMAL11 June 2024Last Update :
Hamas leader says ‘we have the Israelis right where we want them’ in leaked messages, WSJ reports – MASHAHER

The military leader of Hamas, Yahya Sinwar, said that the Palestinian militant group has the upper hand over Israel in the war in Gaza, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, citing leaked messages the newspaper said it had seen.

“We have the Israelis right where we want them,” Sinwar told Hamas’ political leadership in Qatar recently, according to one of the messages, the WSJ reported Monday. The date of the message isn’t clear but suggests that Sinwar is pressing for the war to continue.

The WSJ said it reviewed dozens of messages sent to ceasefire negotiators from Sinwar, who has been in hiding since the October 7 attack on Israel which sparked a devastating war on Gaza, killing more than 37,000 people in the enclave, according to Gaza health authorities, and leaving much of the strip destroyed.

The WSJ reported that in one message Sinwar said civilian deaths in previous conflicts were “necessary sacrifices,” citing past independence-related wars in places like Algeria.

As Israel prepared to enter Rafah before the Muslim month of Ramadan in February, the WSJ said Sinwar urged Hamas’ political leaders not to make concessions and instead push for a permanent end to the war.

“Israel’s journey in Rafah won’t be a walk in the park,” Sinwar allegedly said in a message to the Hamas political leadership.

CNN has not seen the leaked messages viewed by the WSJ and is not able to confirm the authenticity of the communications.

Commenting on the WSJ report, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on X: “Sinwar profits off the deaths of Gazan civilians, calling them “necessary sacrifices” in order to urge international pressure on Israel’s efforts to eliminate his terrorist organization.”

Mediators are waiting for a Hamas response to an Israeli proposal presented by President Joe Biden last month – which aims to release the hostages in Gaza and implement a ceasefire there.

While the US is pushing those who have sway over Hamas to pressure the group to accept the deal, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also made it clear that the US believes that the group’s leader, Sinwar, is the ultimate decision-maker.

“I think there are there those who have influenced, but influence is one thing, actually getting a decision made is the is another thing. I don’t think anyone other than the Hamas leadership in Gaza actually are the ones who can make decisions,” Blinken said, adding that “that is what we are waiting on.”

Blinken said that Hamas’ answer to the proposal will reveal the group’s priorities.

“We await the answer from Hamas in and that will speak volumes about what they want, what they’re looking for, who they’re looking after,” Blinken said. “Are they looking after one guy who may be for now safe … I don’t know, 10 stories underground somewhere in Gaza, while the people that he purports to represent continue to suffer in a crossfire of his own making? Or will he do what’s necessary to actually move this to a better place, to help end the suffering of people to help bring real security to Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

In early messages to ceasefire negotiators, Sinwar seemed “surprised” by the brutality of the October 7 attack on Israel.

“Things went out of control,” Sinwar said in one of his messages, according to the WSJ, adding he was “referring to gangs taking civilian women and children as hostages.”

“People got caught up in this, and that should not have happened,” Sinwar said, according to the WSJ.

The US-designated terrorist had also expressed discontent after not being consulted for a meeting between the Hamas political leaders with other Palestinian factions, calling the meeting “shameful and outrageous.”

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

He had also compared the war in Gaza to a 7th-century battle in Karbala, Iraq, a monumental moment in Islamic history where the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad was killed.

“We have to move forward on the same path we started,” Sinwar reportedly wrote. “Or let it be a new Karbala.”

His comments emerged as 14 of the 15 United Nations Security Council members voted in favor of Monday’s US-drafted resolution, with only Russia abstaining – the first time the council has endorsed such a plan to end the war. Israel is not a member of the UNSC, and so did not vote.

The comprehensive three-stage peace deal, which sets out conditions intended to lead to the eventual release of all remaining hostages, in return for a permanent ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli forces, was first laid out publicly by US President Biden on May 31.

The landmark vote means the UNSC now joins other major global bodies in backing the plan, increasing international pressure on both Hamas and Israel to end the conflict.

Hamas welcomed the adoption of the UNSC resolution, saying in a statement it was ready to engage with mediators to implement measures such as the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, prisoner exchange, returning residents to their homes and the “rejection of any demographic change or reduction in the area of the Gaza Strip.”

The resolution says Israel has accepted the plan, and US officials have repeatedly emphasized Israel had agreed to the proposal – despite other public comments from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that suggest otherwise.

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Source Agencies

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