Top leaders of Hamas admitted the group’s desire to engage in a permanent war in Israel to prop up the Palestinian cause while showing no interest in governing the Gaza Strip or improving the lives of its 2 million residents, the majority of whom live in dire poverty, according to media reports.
In a series of interviews with the New York Times, Khalil al-Hayya, a member of Hamas’ highest leadership body, defended the terror group’s surprise multi-pronged Oct. 7 attack on Israeli civilians, triggering Israel to respond militarily.
‘We succeeded in putting the Palestinian issue back on the table, and now no one in the region is experiencing calm,’ he told the newspaper from Qatar.
Hamas’ top brass also expressed little desire to govern Gaza or provide essential services to its people, according to the report.
‘I hope that the state of war with Israel will become permanent on all the borders and that the Arab world will stand with us,’ said Taher El-Nounou, a Hamas media adviser. He added that its goal is ‘not to run Gaza and to bring it water and electricity and such.’
‘Hamas, the Qassam and the resistance woke the world up from its deep sleep and showed that this issue must remain on the table,’ he said. ‘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.’
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has responded heavily to the Hamas attack one month ago, with continuous airstrikes that have killed thousands in Gaza. Israeli officials have refused to discuss a ceasefire until hostages kidnapped by Hamas are returned.
While Gazans live in poverty, Hamas’ top leaders are apparently living a life of luxury. Israeli officials say Hamas leaders are amassing an overwhelming jackpot of terror money for themselves in the billions od dollars.
‘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,’ Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at The Foundation For Defense of Democracies told Fox News.
Hamas bosses Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh are worth an estimated $4 billion each, and political bureau leader Mousa Abu Marzouk is worth $3 billion. The group itself is estimated to earn more than $1 billion a year from a global network that includes cryptocurrency, real estate, legitimate business and taxing and extorting Gaza residents.
Fox News’ Eric Shawn contributed to this report.