On U.S. “Specially Designated [Terrorist] Nationals” List
Hamas, the terrorist group dedicated to Israel’s destruction, in the Gaza Strip has a new leader, and it shouldn’t be surprising that he’s a convicted murderer.
Convicted of the murder of other Palestinians who had been accused of helping Israel, Yehya Sinwar was imprisoned in 1989 and served 22 years until he was released six years ago as part of the deal to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Sinwar is on the U.S. “Specially Designated [Terrorist] Nationals” List.
Avi Issacharoff of The Times of Israel reported that Sinwar earned the nickname of The Man of the Twelve,” for having personally killed twelve Palestinians who were said to have helped Israel. Issacharoff added, “the number has gone up since then.”
Sinwar is also reported to be the person behind the killing of another Hamas commander last year, Mahmoud Ishtiwi. According to Israel and Ishtiwi’s family it was Sinwar who had his rival killed over “over an internal rivalry within the group.”
According to Issacharoff, “Sinwar is an extremist even by comparison to other high-ranking members of Hamas’s military wing. But the main problem with him is that he is unpredictable.”
Sinwar, by the way, has a secret. Israel saved his life.
This is a sad but true statement. Sinwar's life was saved by Israeli doctors while he was in Israeli prison for multiple murder counts. https://t.co/UusHRkssLq
— Dov Lieber (@DovLieber) February 13, 2017
The New York Times described Sinwar, the new Hamas chief, as a “militant hard-liner.”
The Times quotes Kobi Michael, a former head of the Palestinian desk at Israel’s Ministry for Strategic Affairs and now a research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, who noted that Sinwar favored working with Iran.
Michael also described Sinwar as representing “the most radical and extreme line of Hamas.”
The New York Times report is interesting because in a later iteration (as you can see in NewsDiffs) in includes a line, “Even before the Hamas leadership change, some hard-line Israeli officials had said the question of renewed fighting in Gaza was not if but when.”
The line is gratuitous, especially because it uses the term “hard-line” to describe Israeli politicians. But really, predicting Hamas’s intentions should be pretty clear to anyone who has followed their actions over the past two and a half years, since the end of Operation Protective Edge.
Iran has given priority to rebuilding its arsenal and terror tunnels. Two weeks ago, a senior IDF official said that Hamas had fully rebuilt its military capabilities since 2014. Rebuilding homes for ordinary Gazans has lagged. Last year Khaled Abu Toameh observed that Hamas has prioritized weapons and tunnels over homes for Gazans, and concluded that “the last thing Hamas cares about is the welfare of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”
What situation do we have in Gaza right now? We have a rebuilt terror organization now headed by “an extremist even by comparison to other high-ranking members of Hamas’s military wing.”
This is a recipe for disaster.