Lawmakers from all sides of the political spectrum criticized the election of Yahya Sinwar to be the head of the Hamas Politburo, saying it reveals their true intention, which is to prepare for the next war with Israel. "The hardliners, the supporters of extremism and militant actions are leading Hamas," said former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) director and Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Peri. "They will focus their activities on the prisoners issue and in preparations to the next round [of war] with Israel," he added.Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman and also a former Shin Bet director, MK Avi Dichter (Likud), said that Hamas elected a leader in Gaza who is a murderer by all means. "Even when he was in prison he continued his activities – he lives for killing," said Dichter. "This appearance that Hamas has a political branch and a military branch was always wrong and today it's officially gone."
Dichter added that "Hamas leadership sees the world through the rockets, the tunnels and the attacks on Israel… Now Sinwar replaces Haniyeh, Haniyeh replaces Mashal and one day Mashal will replace Abbas – This is what they wish for.""The message that we should understand here is that we should strengthen our abilities to destroy Hamas' infrastructures in Gaza because they might use them sooner than we thought," he concluded. MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union), a Middle East expert, pointed out Sinwars' role in transferring money to Hamas in Gaza. She said that Israel should make sure that he is not fulfilling his promises. "He said that he would flow money directly to Hamas… Israel should keep an eye that Turkey – a country that we recently improved our relations with – will not transfer them money."Svetlova added that Sinwar might try to ignite a new round of violence, but Israel needs to make sure that if happens, the Palestinian Authority should be the ruler in Gaza after it and not Hamas. "This is the Israeli interest," she said. MK Anat Berko (Likud) reiterated the notion the Sinwars' picking shows Hamas' unwilling to compromise. "Hamas is fundamentalist organization and so do Yahyah Sinwar," she said. Berko also slammed Sinwar for glorifying his past as a close companion of former senior Hamas terrorists, and stated that this is what paved his way to the top. "He is proud of his relations with Ahmad Yassin and Mohammed Def… Then he became a monster with major military abilities."Berko concluded by saying that Sinwar is a proof to the fact the security prisoners in Israel know that they will eventually will released and have the chance to lead.
Hamas picks Yahya Sinwar as new Gaza leader (credit: REUTERS)