Israel’s TEL AVIV Without the agreement of one reclusive individual, there would have been no devastating attack on southern Israel on October 7, no hauling of Israeli prisoners back to Gaza, and no high-stakes talks for their release.
It is generally accepted that Yahya Sinwar, the head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, played a role in organizing the historic Hamas offensive that altered the trajectory of Israeli-Palestinian history.
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“Yahya Sinwar: From Imprisonment to Influence – The Strategic Maneuvers Shaping Israeli-Palestinian History”
Before being let free 12 years ago as a result of a hostage-ransom agreement his brother assisted in negotiating, he was imprisoned in Israel for more than 20 years. With the same hostage-taking strategy, Sinwar outwitted Israel in early October, making that day the bloodiest in Israeli history.
Sinwar, who was born on October 29, 1962, was one of the founders of Hamas’s internal security organization, which was established in the late 1980s. Among Palestinians, he became known as the butcher of Khan Younis, the southern Gazan town where he was raised. He spent years in Hamas helping Israel find alleged Palestinian agents.
He was charged with participating in the murder of Israeli troops and Palestinians who worked with Israel and was given four life terms in jail.He [has] so many secrets,” remarks Esmat Mansour, a former prisoner who now provides commentary on current events in Arabic-language media.Israel is currently attempting to destroy Sinwar’s Islamist terrorist organization in Gaza. Although Hamas is designated as a terrorist group by Israel, the US, Europe, and other countries, its unexpected strike won it the sympathy of many Palestinians, who saw it as a means of overcoming decades of Israeli oppression.
Additionally, Sinwar, a small, wiry guy with short white hair, is to be killed by Israel. Leaders in Israel have declared him to be a psychopath.The soldier was released by Hamas in 2011 in return for over a thousand Palestinian captives. Sinwar’s brother ensured that he was included in the group.
“All the prisoners [looked] at him as a man who can decide about their life,” Mansour claims.Sinwar’s ascent to the position of Hamas leader in Gaza was aided by his VIP status while incarcerated and his return to Gaza with the freed detainees.Both Israelis and Palestinians believe Sinwar is somewhere in Gaza, attempting to outmaneuver Israel, negotiating the release of hostages with international powers, and living to see another day.
According to Mansour, Sinwar put together a small group of trusted individuals who would sneak telephones into jail, question recently released convicts about how they had been caught planning an assault on Israel, and identify Palestinian prisoners who were acting as Israeli informants.
That agreement was disrupted by the Israel-Hamas war in 2021. After the battle, Sinwar held another news conference for foreign media, refuting the idea that Hamas had diverted funding from other countries to fund its covert tunnel construction project for Hamas militants.
As hostilities between Gaza and Israel stopped, Israel started to provide more licenses for Gaza laborers. Prior to this battle, Israel had issued over 8,000 work permits to Gazan migrants.Former Israeli national security adviser Eyal Hulata believed that this tactic earned Israel some tranquility along the Gaza border.
“So many spies,” Mansour remarks in a Palestinian city of Ramallah interview with NPR.Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier, was taken prisoner in Gaza by Hamas in 2006 and kept there for five years. It was none other than Mohammed, Sinwar’s own brother, who was watching after the captured soldier.
Two Israeli citizens and the corpses of two Israeli soldiers who had been murdered were being held by Hamas at the time. Regarding the hostages, NPR questioned Sinwar. Sinwar stated that he wasn’t ready to discuss it because it was a secret file. They are still in the hands of Hamas.
Hamas was at the time inciting violent rallies along the blockaded Gaza Strip’s Israeli border barrier. He said that it was a tactic he had picked up from his hunger strikes in an Israeli jail, where Palestinians in Gaza were demonstrating against their Israeli captors in order to demand better treatment.