The goal of Hamas’s October 7 massacres in southern Israel was to “change the entire equation,” bring permanent war to Israel’s borders and renew attention to the Palestinian cause, a senior member of the terror group’s politburo in Qatar said.
“What could change the equation was a great act, and without a doubt, it was known that the reaction to this great act would be big,” Khalil al-Hayya told The New York Times in an interview published Wednesday. “We had to tell people that the Palestinian cause would not die.”
On the morning of Saturday, October 7, some 3,000 Hamas terrorists stormed through the border fence into Israel, killing 1,400 people, most of them civilians, and taking at least 240 hostages.
Many of the victims were families murdered in their homes, and 260 people were mowed down at an outdoor music festival.
The onslaught was the deadliest attack in the country’s history, and in response, Israel vowed to eliminate Hamas from Gaza, where the group has ruled since 2007. An offensive has been launched from the air, ground and sea, with over 11,000 targets struck since the start of the war.
“We succeeded in putting the Palestinian issue back on the table, and now no one in the region is experiencing calm,” Al-Hayya said, confirming that he considered the attacks a success.
While world leaders have been pushing for Israel to agree to a ceasefire in its war against the Gaza terror group, Al-Hayya and other Hamas members dismissed the idea that they want to govern Gaza and restore a sense of calm, instead expressing support for endless conflict.
“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,” Hamas media consultant Taher El-Nounou told The Times.
“Hamas’s goal is not to run Gaza and to bring it water and electricity and such,” al-Hayya added. “Hamas, the Qassam [Brigades, its armed wing] and the resistance woke the world up from its deep sleep and showed that this issue must remain on the table.”
According to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, more than 10,000 people inside the coastal enclave have been killed since October 7. However, this number cannot be independently verified and is believed to include members of the terror organization as well as civilians killed by misfired rockets that fell within the Strip.
While international bodies including the United Nations and the World Health Organization have warned that Gaza is facing a humanitarian catastrophe as a result of heavy bombardment and its blockaded borders with Israel and Egypt, Hamas has continued to laud October 7 as a success and has dismissed the high civilian death toll as the price for victory.
On October 24, senior Hamas member Ghazi Hamad told Lebanese TV channel LBC that the October 7 massacre was just the first of many, and that “there will be a second, a third, and a fourth” attack if the group is given the chance.
“Will we have to pay a price? Yes, and we are ready to pay it,” he said at the time. “We are called a nation of martyrs, and we are proud to sacrifice martyrs.”
Israel has faced increased calls to allow fuel to enter the Gaza Strip in recent days as hospitals warn that they will soon run out. However, even as the country grants access to other humanitarian aid it continues to refrain from allowing fuel to enter, due to the concern that Hamas will hijack the fuel, using it instead to continue to attack Israel.
For its part, Hamas is believed to be stockpiling about half a million liters of fuel, even as hospitals run low, evidence of which has been corroborated by Western and Arab officials.
“This battle was not because we wanted fuel or laborers,” Al-Hayya told The Times of the consequences faced by Gaza’s civilians after the October 7 attack. “It did not seek to improve the situation in Gaza. This battle is to completely overthrow the situation.”