Borri and Sinwar
Sinwar denies knowing interview was for Israeli paper
Following criticism in Gaza for giving an interview to Yedioth Ahronoth, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar insists he did not know the interview will be published in Hebrew—despite having message to Israeli public; interview met with mostly suspicion and skepticism in Israel.

The interview given by Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, to Yedioth Ahronoth and La Repubblica was met with criticism in the strip and suspicion and skepticism in Israel.



Sinwar, who came under fire in Gaza for agreeing to give an interview to an Israeli newspaper, claimed Italian journalist Francesca Borri asked to interview him for La Repubblica and the British Guardian newspaper and made no mention of Yedioth Ahronoth.


He also claimed the interview was not done in person, but rather by correspondence, with the journalist sending her questions and receiving answers.


Sinwar with Italian journalist Francesca Borri
Sinwar with Italian journalist Francesca Borri


However, Sinwar knew ahead of time the interview will be published in Yedioth Ahronoth, and even conveyed a message directly to the Israeli public.


Furthermore, the Hamas leader and his organization know Borri from previous articles of hers that were published in Yedioth Ahronoth, reporting from the Gaza Strip.


Finally, photos published in Yedioth Ahronoth show Sinwar with Borri at his office in Gaza City, showing the interview was indeed conducted face-to-face.


In Israel, opinions were split about the interview.


"Sinwar sounds like a level-headed man who knows exactly what needs to be done, and I believe he doesn't want wars, but he's not alone in the Palestinian arena," said Batya Holin, who lives in Kfar Aza, which is located on the strip's border. "Unfortunately, on our side I don't see anyone who has any sort of strategy."


Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, whose city is under constant threat of rockets being fired from Gaza, said he did not believe a word Sinwar said.


"Sinwar's words are nonsense, with him blaming everyone for the Gaza residents' situation except himself," Davidi criticized. "The hudna (truce) Sinwar is talking about will only happen after the elimination of him and of the Hamas leadership in Gaza."


Shaar HaNegev head Alon Schuster, whose regional council is also under constant rocket threat, noted that "Sinwar's words demonstrate the pragmatism of Hamas's heads."


"Israel has the responsibility to lead—along with the international community—a move that would give the strip's residents a basis for existence," he opined.


Israeli politicians mostly responded to the interview with skepticism.


Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant quoted Chazal, saying "the best among the serpents, crush his head..." adding that "Sinwar is a venomous serpent who is trying to dress up as an innocent sheep."


Zionist Union MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin accused Sinwar of "playing, (speaking) in ten different voices," claiming that "if he does indeed seek peace, only actions to calm down the tensions will prove that and not empty statements."


Her fellow Zionist Union MK Leah Fadida noted that "while the interview is indeed an impressive journalistic achievement, it is also testimony of the complete loss of deterrence," blaming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 


The rare interview received wide coverage around the world, with all news agencies reporting on it alongside leading newspapers in Europe, the US and the Middle East.


The Washington Post's story about the interview was headlined "Hamas leader gave rare interview to Israeli newspaper, then said he was duped," putting an emphasis on Hamas denying knowing the interview was for an Israeli newspaper.


Borri is quoted in the Post as saying that the Palestinians "know my work is translated into Hebrew and they know that through me they can reach Israel. I am totally transparent.”


French newspaper Libération questioned Hamas's denials; pointing to the fact Sinwar himself mentions his desire to send a message to Israelis in the interview.


The Abu Dhabi-based English newspaper The National reported on the interview in an article titled "Hamas chief: I don't want any more wars with Israel," while Turkish news company TRT World noted Hamas's objective with this interview was to address Israelis directly and described it as "Sinwar takes an opportunity to search for peace."


פרסום ראשון: 10.06.18, 19:38
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