Civilians Bloodshed Will Help Hamas – Hamas Chief , Yahya Sinwar

For months, Yahya Sinwar has resisted pressure to cut a ceasefire-and-hostages deal with Israel. Behind his decision, messages the Hamas military leader in Gaza has sent to mediators show, is a calculation that more fighting—and more Palestinian civilian deaths—work to his advantage.

“We have the Israelis right where we want them,” Sinwar said in a recent message to Hamas officials seeking to broker an agreement with Qatari and Egyptian officials.

Fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas units in the Gaza Strip’s south has disrupted humanitarian-aid shipments, caused mounting civilian casualties and intensified international criticism of Israel’s efforts to eradicate the Islamist extremist group.

For much of Sinwar’s political life, shaped by bloody conflict with an Israeli state that he says has no right to exist, he has stuck to a simple playbook. Backed into a corner, he looks to violence for a way out. The current fight in Gaza is no exception.

In dozens of messages—reviewed by The Wall Street Journal—that Sinwar has transmitted to cease-fire negotiators, Hamas compatriots outside Gaza and others, he’s shown a cold disregard for human life and made clear he believes Israel has more to lose from the war than Hamas. The messages were shared by multiple people with differing views of Sinwar.

More than 37,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of the war, Palestinian officials say. The figure doesn’t specify how many were combatants.
Palestine Health authorities said almost 300 Palestinians were killed Saturday in an Israeli raid that rescued four hostages kept in captivity in homes surrounded by civilians—driving home for some Palestinians their role as pawns for Hamas.

In one message to Hamas leaders in Doha, Sinwar cited civilian losses in national-liberation conflicts in places such as Algeria, where hundreds of thousands of people died fighting for independence from France, saying, “these are necessary sacrifices.”

In an April 11 letter to Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh after three of Haniyeh’s adult sons were killed by an Israeli airstrike, Sinwar wrote that their deaths and those of other Palestinians would “infuse life into the veins of this nation, prompting it to rise to its glory and honor.”

Sinwar isn’t the first Palestinian leader to embrace bloodshed as a means to pressure Israel. But the scale of the collateral damage in this war—civilians killed and destruction wrought—is unprecedented between Israelis and Palestinians.

Despite Israel’s ferocious effort to kill him, Sinwar has survived and micromanaged Hamas’s war effort, drafting letters, sending messages to cease-fire negotiators and deciding when the U.S.-designated terrorist group ramps up or dials back its attacks.

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