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Hamas Leadership Prioritizes Permanent Conflict Over Gaza Governance

Hamas Leadership Prioritizes Permanent Conflict Over Gaza Governance

In a series of startling interviews, top officials of the Palestinian militant group Hamas made alarming admissions about the organization’s motivations and priorities.

They indicated Hamas is focused on fomenting continuous war with Israel instead of governing Gaza or addressing residents’ needs.

Interviews in New York Times Reveal True Intentions

These frank admissions came in extensive interviews conducted by the New York Times with multiple high-ranking leaders of Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza.

Khalil al-Hayya, a member of Hamas’ highest governing body, defended the group’s surprise attack on Israeli civilians on October 7th. This triggered severe Israeli retaliation that has killed thousands in Gaza over the past month.

Al-Hayya said “We succeeded in putting the Palestinian issue back on the table, and now no one in the region is experiencing calm.” This statement reveals the group’s aim of perpetuating conflict.

No Interest in Governing Gaza

Other Hamas officials openly expressed disinterest in governing Gaza or providing critical services for its 2 million impoverished residents.

“I hope that the state of war with Israel will become permanent on all borders and that the Arab world will stand with us,” said Taher El-Nounou, a Hamas media adviser.

El-Nounou shockingly added “Our goal is not to run Gaza and to bring it water and electricity and such.” This indifference towards humanitarian needs contradicts Hamas’ proclaimed mission.

Seeking to Destabilize Region

The interviews highlighted that Hamas primarily seeks to destabilize the region and rally anti-Israel sentiment, not administer Gaza or improve Gazans’ lives.

“Hamas, the Qassam [Brigades] and the resistance woke the world up from its deep sleep and showed that this issue must remain on the table,” El-Nounou stated. “This battle was not because we wanted fuel or laborers. It did not seek to improve the situation in Gaza. This battle is to completely overthrow the situation.”

Statements Align With Hamas Charter

These sentiments align with Hamas’ 1988 founding charter, which called for Israel’s destruction and vowed to “obliterate” the Jewish state through jihad. The group is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., EU, and others.

While Hamas made gestures towards moderation when gaining power in Gaza elections in 2006, its leaders’ recent admission shows violent opposition to Israel remains its priority.

Gazans Live in Poverty

Hamas’ warmongering agenda is resulting in immense suffering for Gazans. Over 70% of Gaza’s population lives in poverty. Infrastructure and public services are severely inadequate after years of conflict.

But Hamas channeled reconstruction aid after past wars into replenishing its arsenal. Its officials now openly declare military escalation takes precedence over Gazans’ welfare.

Israel Responds Forcefully

In response to Hamas’ October attacks and ongoing rocket fire, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have conducted over 1,500 airstrikes on Gaza. Israel says the strikes aim to degrade Hamas’ capabilities and deter future aggression.

But the month of Israeli bombing has killed over 200 Gazans, including civilians, drawing international condemnation. Israel insists Hamas bears responsibility by embedding military assets in residential areas.

Officials Refuse Ceasefire

Israeli officials have refused to discuss a ceasefire until Hamas returns Israeli hostages kidnapped in the October attacks. But the turmoil persists, with Hamas vowing to fight indefinitely.

Hamas Leaders Live in Luxury

While Gaza suffers, Hamas’ top leaders are apparently living in opulence. Israeli officials estimate bosses like Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh are each worth up to $4 billion.

Much of this vast personal wealth comes from Hamas’ global terror financing network generating over $1 billion annually through legitimate business, extortion, and other means.

“It’s just really the numbers that are shocking, looking at the sheer amount of money that some of these terror chiefs have been able to sock away,” said terror financing expert Jonathan Schanzer.

Leaders Profit While Gazans Suffer

Experts say Hamas bosses have built up immense personal fortunes from the group’s illicit revenue streams while the general population struggles. This glaring hypocrisy highlights the self-interest driving Hamas more than its declared ideological motivations.

The extravagant lifestyles of its elite leadership stand in jarring contrast to the deprivation endured by most Gazan civilians. Hamas is prioritizing its own power and enrichment over the needs of those under its authority.

No Incentive for Positive Governance

With access to such wealth, Hamas leaders have little incentive to adopt transparency or initiate reforms that could lose them political control. Their grip on power depends on military escalation, not positive governance.

This explains the stark admission that the group is disinterested in governing Gaza responsibly or providing public services. Its primary goal is fomenting continuous conflict to rally support and justify its authority.

A Cycle of Violence With No End

The recent interviews paint a troubling picture of a militant organization locked into a cycle of violence, with civilians paying the price. They reveal Hamas has no interest in meaningful negotiation or coexistence, only endless war.

This combative stance, echoed by hardline elements in Israel, ensures Gazans will continue suffering with no hope for peace. Only concerted international pressure on both Hamas and Israel to make difficult compromises can break this status quo.

But Hamas’ military provocations and callous indifference to collateral damage tragically show efforts at de-escalation or reform are unlikely. The group is consumed by its radical agenda of resistance at any cost, even as the cost is borne by Gaza’s most vulnerable.

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