Which Sinawar Should We Believe?

Israeli security forces near the scene of the terror attack in the Barkan Industrial Zone, October 7. (Flash90)

When Ariel Sharon was appointed Agriculture Minister in 1976, he knew what he wanted to do: to settle Eretz Yisrael with Jews. He worked, with the approval of then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin, to establish settlements in Yehudah and Shomron and even in the Galilee. Those were good years for Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael, which was then stretched like the hide of a deer, and dozens of Jewish settlements were established one after another throughout the land.

One of the towns established at the time was Beit Abba, as it was originally named, or Barkan, as it is called today, for the Churvos Burak, or ruins of Burak that were found nearby from the Second Beis Hamikdash era. Among the settlers were immigrants from the Soviet Union, who came infused with a drive to settle the land, as well as veteran Israelis who sought a place to live.

No one dreamed that then that they would become cannon fodder for an enemy that is constantly breathing down their backs and won’t put down their weapons even for a second.

The first to recover and change his tune was the founder of the settlements himself, Sharon. He personally oversaw the withdrawal from Sinai and Yamit and, in time, while serving as prime minister, came up with the Disengagement Plan and the withdrawal from the entire Gaza Strip and parts of Yehudah and Shomron, transforming them into a central nest of terror.

In recent years, since Sharon and, l’havdil, Yasser Arafat, have left the scene, the disaster and chaos between the Palestinian Authority and Israel has only grown. The PA has almost completely ceased to function, while the murderous Hamas terror group, led by Yichye Sinawar, has taken control of the Gaza Strip. He sat in Israeli prison for 22 years and was declared a terrorist by the United States. He was released seven years ago under the Shalit deal and became the head of the organization over the past year.

In recent days, the terrorist Sinawar gave his first interview to an Italian daily, La Republica, and it was simultaneously published in Israel’s Yedioth Aharonoth. He claims that he views the current period as “a real opportunity for change. A new war is not in the best interests of anyone, certainly not in our best interests. Who wants to fight with four slingshots against a nuclear power? War doesn’t achieve anything.”

But you fought all your life, the Italian journalist countered, to which he replied: “I’m not saying I won’t fight anymore. I’m saying that I don’t want any more wars. What I do want is an end to the siege. My first commitment is to work for the interests of my nation. To defend it and protect its rights to freedom and independence.”

The Israelis were stunned. An editorial in the Haaretz newspaper launched an attack on Mr. Binyamin Netanyahu for not responding to the interview that sounded full of rapprochement. “The thunderous silence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior members of his government in the face of comments by Yahya Sinwar, Hamas leader in Gaza, are further proof that Israel understands only force,” the Leftist Israeli newspaper claimed.

But it was enough to leaf through the London Telegraph, also from last week, to realize which way the wind was really blowing. The Telegraph published a description of a dramatic conference at which Sinawar presented his strategy before a group of journalists. “We can reach an agreement through indirect negotiations with Israel by the middle of October,” the terror leader said. “If there won’t be an agreement, Hamas will cause chaos through mass demonstrations on the Gaza-Israel border. If there is no agreement, Hamas will overturn the entire table on everyone’s heads, the Israelis, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, everyone will suffer.”

This Sunday, a lone terrorist entered a factory in Barkan and killed two young Israelis in a carefully targeted murderous attack. Apparently the Sinawar of the British newspaper is more reliable than the Sinawar in Israel’s newspapers.