JERUSALEM, Israel – Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar says he doesn't want any more wars, presumably with Israel. Sinwar made the statement in a recent interview with an Israeli reporter.
Yediot Ahranot reporter Francesca Borri spent five days in the Gaza Strip as Sinwar's guest, interviewing him in various venues, but mostly in his office in Gaza City. YNet posted portions of the story Thursday, with the full interview appearing in the paper's weekend supplement.
It was Sinwar's first interview since he replaced Ismail Haniyeh in 2017, the same year Haniyeh replaced outgoing politburo chief Khaled Meshaal. While their individual styles differ slightly, the strategy and end goal are the same.
Hamas, Sinwar says, wants "complete quiet" and an end "to the siege." It's the same ploy though "complete quiet" isn't in its vocabulary.
As the Palestinian branch of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas thrives on jihad and "armed resistance," a euphemism for terror attacks.
What he's really saying is we need quiet to build up the terror infrastructure in Gaza. That includes manufacturing arms, fine-tuning missiles and rockets, shoring up weapons warehouses, digging cross-border tunnels, developing more powerful explosives and training the next generation of jihadists.
"I'm not saying I won't fight anymore," Sinwar tells his interviewer. "I'm saying I don't want any more wars. What I want is an end to the siege. My first commitment is to act in the interest of my people – to protect them and to defend their right for freedom and independence."
It's a rehash of Hamas policy, nothing more and nothing less
While speaking of freedom and independence, Sinwar (and Haniyeh before him) oversees terror training camps during summer vacation, where toddlers to teenagers learn jihadist warfare. Their targets? Israelis.
Like their counterparts in Palestinian Authority-controlled territories in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), the kids in Gaza are taught that Israelis are interlopers. They're infused with hate for the Jewish state and its people. That's what they're taught in schools, mosques and the culture at large.
Since taking over the Strip in June 2007, Hamas has increasingly clamped down on its residents, demanding strict obedience to Islam.
In 2011, Sinwar was one of more than 1,000 convicted terrorists released in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an IDF soldier kidnapped in a cross-border attack and imprisoned in Gaza for more than five years.