In a rare briefing to journalists, Gaza-based Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar said yesterday his organization will “pummel” Israel if another war erupts.
Sinwar told journalists that Hamas “is not seeking a confrontation” with Israel, but “if such a confrontation should arise, Hamas will pummel Israel.”
Despite claiming that Israel is not starting a war with Gaza because of the “fear of the unknown,” he warned Israel against “taking stupid steps against the Gaza Strip” and claimed that “the Palestinian resistance has the ability to respond” to any provocations. Sinwar stressed that Hamas would be willing to dissolve its Administrative Committee, a shadow government that was formed in March and led to a series of punitive steps by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, “if we were convinced that we would not return to the vicious cycle [Abbas] put us in.”
Sinwar said the Egyptian government committed itself to opening the Rafah crossing for goods and passengers after the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
Why it’s on our radar: Israel’s archenemy Iran has continued to fund and equip its proxy groups — Hamas and Hezbollah — following a couple of years of chilly relations after the groups refused to support Iran’s position in Syria. Iran has decided funding these proxy groups so they can harass Tel Aviv and keep the Jewish state off-balance, in the Gaza Strip and, really, anywhere they can, is in its national interests. Iran also wants to be able to depend on both groups to assist in any full-fledged war against Israel, which could come preemptively if the Israelis believe Iran is close to developing and deploying a functional nuclear strike capability. Hamas would be able to at least harass Israel and tie down a sizeable Israeli force.