June 11, 2024 | Flash Brief

Hamas Leader Yahya Sinwar Depicts Palestinian Casualties As ‘Necessary Sacrifices’

June 11, 2024 | Flash Brief

Hamas Leader Yahya Sinwar Depicts Palestinian Casualties As ‘Necessary Sacrifices’

Latest Developments

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, who masterminded Hamas’s October 7 atrocities, portrayed the deaths of Palestinian civilians as a welcome sacrifice in his personal correspondence, The Wall Street Journal revealed on June 10. The Journal reviewed dozens of messages authored by Sinwar in which the terror leader hailed the carnage in Gaza. In one letter sent to Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh on April 11, Sinwar wrote that the Palestinian death toll would “infuse life into the veins of this nation, prompting it to rise to its glory and honor.” In another message to Hamas leaders in Qatar, Sinwar maintained that thousands of civilian casualties “are necessary sacrifices.”

The messages also suggest that Sinwar is banking on the idea that further fighting will “work to his advantage,” the Journal reported. Regarding the ongoing ceasefire talks — during which Hamas has repeatedly refused to compromise on its maximalist demands — Sinwar recently told Hamas negotiators that “we have the Israelis right where we want them.”

Expert Analysis

“While some analysts may argue that Hamas’s underground tunnel network is its greatest strategic advantage, the current conflict has starkly revealed a more disturbing truth. In fact, Hamas’s most potent weapon is the Palestinian civilian population. Putting civilians in harm’s way is no coincidence; it has been done by design. Hamas’s leadership has always understood that Palestinian deaths in a conflict with Israel creates leverage over the Jewish state despite the group’s role in perpetuating the violence.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

“The Hamas death cult seeks to maximize the casualties on both sides. For Sinwar, Palestinian lives don’t matter. Moreover, by punishing Israel, the international community perversely incentivizes Hamas to get Palestinians killed.” — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

Sinwar’s Bloody Record

Sinwar was born in the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis in 1962. He was involved in terrorist attacks against Israel throughout the 1980s and facilitated the murder of Palestinians who helped the Jewish state thwart attacks. These activities earned him the moniker the “butcher of Khan Yunis.” Israel imprisoned Sinwar in 1988 and subsequently sentenced him to four life terms. However, Israel released Sinwar in 2011 as part of a prisoner deal with Hamas that freed IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for more than 1,000 jailed Palestinians.

The United States sanctioned Sinwar in 2015, listing him as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Presaging Hamas’s October 7 terrorist attack, Sinwar vowed in April 2018 that Hamas “will take down the border [with Israel] and we will tear their hearts from their bodies.”

Onus on Hamas to Secure Gaza Ceasefire

Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on June 10 to discuss the U.S.-backed ceasefire plan that President Joe Biden outlined on May 31. The three-phase deal would entail Hamas’s release of all hostages in exchange for a permanent end of hostilities in Gaza. Before arriving in Israel, Blinken said that Israel had “accepted” the plan and that it was up to Hamas to finalize the deal. “My message to governments throughout the region, to people throughout the region is: If you want a ceasefire, press Hamas to say yes,” Blinken told the press. “If you want to alleviate the terrible suffering of Palestinians in Gaza, press Hamas to say yes. If you want to get all the hostages home, press Hamas to say yes.” Hamas signaled its qualified acceptance of the three-phase plan on June 11.

A week-long ceasefire in November — during which Hamas released 81 Israeli hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners — collapsed after the terror organization resumed launching rockets at Israel. Hamas has turned down successive ceasefire proposals in December, January, March, and twice in April.

Seventeen Countries Urge Hamas to Accept Ceasefire Proposal,” FDD Flash Brief

Blinken in Israel Amid Talk of Side Deal on American Hostages Held in Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

Tunnel Footage Shows Sinwar on the Run,” FDD Flash Brief

10 Things to Know About Hamas,” FDD Insight

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