In a bold and unambiguous statement, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant sent a clear message on Saturday night: every Hamas operative, including those residing outside of Gaza in relative luxury, is marked for death. Gallant’s declaration, which comes amidst the ongoing conflict now in its seventh week, unequivocally asserts that Israel will target Hamas members everywhere, even in countries like Qatar, where some currently live in exile.
Gallant’s words at the press conference highlighted a no-tolerance policy towards all forms of terrorism, regardless of its guise or location.
“There is no difference between a terrorist with a Kalashnikov and one in a three-piece suit elsewhere in the world. All of them are targets,” he stated.
This stance is reminiscent of Israel’s historical approach to combating terrorism, particularly following the horrific massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics. In the wake of that tragedy, Israeli intelligence and military forces embarked on a prolonged, global manhunt to bring the perpetrators to justice, a mission that spanned several years.
In today’s context, many senior Hamas leaders are known to reside comfortably in Doha, Qatar. Among them is Ismail Haniyeh, a leading figure in Hamas who has reportedly traveled by private jet to various supportive nations, including Tehran and Moscow. These leaders, while enjoying affluence abroad, stand accused of orchestrating conflicts with Israel, leading to significant Palestinian casualties and hardships in Gaza.
The Israeli government’s stated goal in the current war, triggered by a large-scale terror attack from Hamas on October 7, is to dismantle Hamas entirely and secure the release of more than 200 hostages. This objective has been repeatedly underscored by both Gallant and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who have made it clear that membership in Hamas equates to a death sentence.
This hardline approach signals Israel’s unwavering commitment to combating Hamas and its affiliates wherever they may be. The Israeli stance reflects a deep-seated determination to root out terrorism and protect its citizens, even if it means extending their reach beyond their borders.
Gallant’s statement is a testament to Israel’s resolve in this prolonged conflict, underscoring a strategy that does not differentiate between those on the frontline and those pulling strings from afar. It is a strategy that seeks to hold accountable all those affiliated with Hamas, painting a picture of an unrelenting and far-reaching campaign against terrorism. This unyielding stance, while controversial to some, illustrates the lengths to which Israel is prepared to go in its fight against Hamas and its operations, both within and beyond the Gaza Strip.