Sinwar believes hes has the upper hand, not under sufficient pressure – US officials

American intelligence sources believe that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar thinks that the organization can survive Israel’s attempt to destroy it and feels confident that he can approach negotiations from a place where he has the upper hand.

According to the sources, Hamas’s goal is to survive – that would be a victory for the terrorist organization.

Sinwar apparently believes that Hamas can hold out while Israel’s international standing deteriorates as the war in Gaza continues. A senior Biden administration official said this openly: “He believes he is winning.”

For the American mediators seeking to achieve a hostage deal-ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel, this is a discouraging assessment. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the families of the American hostages held in Gaza that the fate of the latest proposal depends on Sinwar. While the US is pressuring those with influence over Hamas to push the organization to accept the deal, Blinken made it clear that the US believes Sinwar is the final decision maker.

‘We are waiting on decision of Hamas leadership’

“I think there are those who have influence, but influence is one thing [and] making an actual decision is another. I don’t think anyone besides the Hamas leadership in Gaza is making the decisions,” Blinken said, adding, “That’s what we are waiting for.”

HAMAS’S GAZA chief, Yahya Sinwar, sits in his office in Gaza City, in 2022. While the majority of experts believe that Sinwar is an irrational psychopath, others consider him to be a psychopath who ultimately makes rational decisions, says the writer. (credit: ATTIA MUHAMMED/FLASH90)

If Sinwar believes Hamas can resist the ground maneuver, it means he still doesn’t feel enough pressure to reach an agreement that would end the fighting – even as Palestinian civilians continue to die. The Wall Street Journal reported that Sinwar called their deaths “necessary sacrifices” in messages seen by the paper.

American officials have sought to publicly portray Sinwar as indifferent to the deaths of Palestinian civilians and interested only in preserving his own survival. 

“It should come as no surprise to anyone that Sinwar does not care at all about the lives of innocent Palestinians caught in this war, a war he started. And it should not surprise or shock anyone that a creature like Mr. Sinwar would revel in it and see it as an advantage,” said National Security Spokesperson John Kirby.

Blinken said that Hamas’s response to the proposal would reveal the group’s priorities. 

“We are waiting for a response from Hamas, and that will speak for itself about what they want, what they are looking for, and who they care about,” Blinken said.