Hamas Leader Calls Civilian Deaths 'Necessary Sacrifices' in Leaked Messages

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, freelancer Hassan Eslaiah (@visegrad24 Twitter)
June 11, 2024

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar said in private messages that civilian deaths in Gaza help Hamas’s cause, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The messages from Sinwar, who leads Hamas from within Gaza, reveal his ruthless military strategy in the terrorist group's war with Israel. Referencing historic national liberation struggles in correspondence with Hamas officials in Qatar, Sinwar called civilian deaths "necessary sacrifices." The Journal says it obtained the messages, many of which Sinwar sent to mediators in ceasefire negotiations, from sources with wide-ranging views on Sinwar.

The messages indicate that Sinwar, the architect behind Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel, wants the war in Gaza and the civilian deaths that have resulted from it to continue. "We have the Israelis right where we want them," Sinwar said to Hamas officials.

According to the report, Sinwar believes the war and civilian deaths benefit Hamas because they bring the conflict to international prominence and hurt Israel’s reputation. "For Netanyahu, a victory would be even worse than a defeat," Sinwar said in 2018. Sinwar’s strategy is reportedly to force Israel into a prolonged conflict that he believes Hamas can weather.

After an Israeli airstrike killed a Hamas leader’s sons in April, Sinwar said their deaths would "infuse life into the veins of this nation, prompting it to rise to its glory and honor."

According to Arab and Hamas officials, Sinwar hoped the Oct. 7 attacks would give the conflict in Israel greater international visibility and result in a permanent end to the conflict. But Sinwar reportedly miscalculated Israel’s "total victory" response and overestimated the support Hamas would receive from Iran and Hezbollah. 

Sinwar reportedly stalled ceasefire and hostage release negotiations and urged Hamas leaders to make no compromises with Israel outside of a permanent end to the war. According to the Journal, Sinwar said that forcing Israel to continue fighting the war would cause high civilian death tolls that would damage Israel’s reputation and benefit Hamas.

In May, Israel threatened to invade Rafah if Hamas kept blocking negotiations, a move that Hamas thought was a bluff, according to the report. Rather than negotiating, Sinwar's forces attacked Israeli troops on May 5, killing four soldiers. Shortly after, Israel launched its invasion of Rafah.

According to the Journal, Sinwar predicted the political consequences Israel would face for its continued operations in Gaza. On Friday, the United Nations voted to add Israel to its blacklist of organizations and countries that violate the rights of children, a list that also names terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and Boko Haram. The U.N.’s decision was based on exaggerated death tolls released by Hamas. 

Published under: Hamas , Israel