Dead Man Talking

“Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday delivered some of the Biden administration’s strongest public criticism yet of Israel’s conduct of the war in Gaza, saying Israeli tactics have meant ‘a horrible loss of life of innocent civilians’ but failed to neutralize Hamas leaders and fighters and could drive a lasting insurgency.”

+ Blinken has (rightfully) been a staunch supporter of Israel’s right to defend itself after Oct 7. But one of the problems is that all the damage done to Gaza (and Israel’s relationship with the world) hasn’t been a strategic success. “After Hamas attacked Israel in October, igniting the war in the Gaza Strip, Israeli leaders described the group’s most senior official in the territory, Yehia Sinwar, as a ‘dead man walking.’ Considering him an architect of the raid, Israel has portrayed Sinwar’s assassination as a major goal of its devastating counterattack. Seven months later, Sinwar’s survival is emblematic of the failures of Israel’s war, which has ravaged much of Gaza but left Hamas’ top leadership largely intact and failed to free most of the captives taken during the October attack.” NYT (Gift Article): Sinwar Helped Start the War in the Gaza Strip. Now He’s Key to Its Endgame.

+ The changing casualty numbers (even from the UN) are a reminder that accuracy is hard to come by in war (particularly this one). But no matter whose statistics you believe, a lot of innocent people paying the price for Sinwar’s terrorism have been living under his harsh rule for years. “Hamas leader Yehia Sinwar has for years overseen a secret police force in the Gaza Strip that conducted surveillance on everyday Palestinians and built files on young people, journalists and those who questioned the government … The documents show that Hamas leaders, despite claiming to represent the people of Gaza, would not tolerate even a whiff of dissent. Security officials trailed journalists and people they suspected of immoral behavior. Agents got criticism removed from social media and discussed ways to defame political adversaries. Political protests were viewed as threats to be undermined.” (This is one more reason why I keep saying, you can be for peace, but not for Hamas.)

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