Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

A Message to Yehya Sinwar

Yahya Sinwar, you are the military field commander of Hamas, and everyone knows that you are the most violent man in Gaza. Your violence is not only directed at Israel, but even some of your own Qassam Brigade officials - Abu al-Majd Shatiwi's mother has previously accused you of killing her son amid a power struggle.

This is a message that not even Khaled Meshaal or Ismail Haniyeh would dare deliver, but I will.

Today, more than two weeks after the October 7 operation, Haniyeh cries out: "Where are the Arabs?" Khaled Meshaal says Hamas will release the civilians provided if the bombardment of Gaza is dialed down.

This means that the situation has become unbearable in Gaza for Hamas, and the Qassam as well. How much worse is it for the innocent people of Gaza? Today, the West as a whole - and I mean what I say because I've heard it from a broad array of sources - is saying that Israel is "drunk on rage."

This rage is similar to Washington's fury in the aftermath of 9/11. Haidar al-Abadi told me, on February 14, 2007, that after 9/11, the US was like a raging bull and that they rode it. Today, no one can ride the raging Israeli bull but Israel's fanatics.

Of course, the people of Gaza and the Palestinian cause are its primary victims. The question was and remains: What would have happened if Washington had assassinated or arrested Osama bin Laden in 2002? Would Washington have toppled Saddam's regime or invaded Afghanistan? Maybe, but capturing him would have certainly undermined its justifications.

Today, Yahya Sinwar, your head could well be the price for extinguishing the fire in Gaza. The Israelis would consider your arrest to be a trophy. Leaving Gaza could also be a solution to the crisis.

The question now, Yahya Sinwar is whether you are a leader or a terrorist.

Are you willing to sacrifice yourself for Gaza and the cause, or are you ready to suck them dry? Were you not the one who once told a reporter from Israel's Channel 2: "We will never recognize Israel, but we are ready to accept a long-term truce?" You promised that this truce would achieve "calm and prosperity in the region, for at least a generation and perhaps more... Nonetheless, we will embitter the lives of Israelis during the negotiations, just as we had with our resistance and war."

Well, by "embittering" the Israelis, you have turned life in Gaza into a nightmare and put a target on your back. Will you take the decision that other leaders have made? If you are indeed a leader, would you leave Gaza to prevent further bloodshed? I'm not trying to be facetious; Yasser Arafat did it when he and his men left Beirut.

Today, it would be best if you too, Yahya, protected Gaza and its people, not any other Arab city. When you eliminated some of the Hamas and Qassam members, some tied the assassinations to a power struggle. Can you prove, today, that you are keen on furthering the cause, not building your own power, by leaving Gaza to save lives?

Will you do it? Are you on a suicide mission or pursuing a state-building project? Is the cause the least of your concerns? I'll be honest with you; your departure from Gaza might not change anything. Indeed, the Israelis are mad. But it would give you the moral high ground and leave them in an awkward position. Do it, strengthen the argument of those who want to stop this brutal Israeli machine.