Not every member of Hamas wants to be a “martyr.” They have seen how valiantly the IDF fights, relentlessly hunting them down in the north of Gaza and now in the south, with ever greater ferocity, determined to make sure that Hamas will never threaten Israeli civilians again. So, being the cowards they are — perfectly pleased to burn alive helpless children and gang-rape, torture, and murder young girls, a but distinctly less eager to fight the IDF — many are now choosing to surrender. They know that the Israelis won’t treat them the way they would have treated any Israelis who surrendered to them; they will not be executed. More on these surrenders can be found here: “Hamas Terrorists May be Surrendering in Large Numbers to Israeli Forces: Reports,” Algemeiner, December 7, 2023:
Photos and videos shared by Israeli journalists on social media show scores of men surrendering to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the neighborhoods of Jabaliya and Shejaiya in Gaza.
כוחות צה”ל עצרו במהלך התמרון ברצועת עזה עשרות גברים שנכנעו והרימו ידיים. כעת בודקים אם יש בניהם מחבלים או פעילי חמאס או גי’אהד איסלמי pic.twitter.com/28zVu0LMqD
— איתי בלומנטל 🇮🇱 Itay Blumental (@ItayBlumental) December 7, 2023
Some videos from correspondents in the region reportedly showed the IDF arresting dozens of men who surrendered and were being checked to determine if they were operatives for Hamas or Islamic Jihad, both Palestinian terror groups operating out of Gaza.
“Jabaliya and Shejaiya are ‘centers of gravity’… for terrorists, and we are fighting them,” said IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari. “They are hiding underground and come out and we fight them. Whoever is left in those areas, they come out from tunnel shafts, and some from buildings, and we investigate who is linked to Hamas, and who isn’t. We arrest them all and interrogate them,” Hagari says in response to a question at a press conference.
“Hamas fighters surrendering here in seemingly large numbers,” wrote defense analyst Jonathan Schanzer on X/Twitter. “This is a good sign, if the trend continues. Questioning them will also lead to more intelligence that could also help bring a speedier end to this phase of the war.”…
“Hamas is losing control of Gaza,” said [Jonathan] Schanzer, the military analyst. “The IDF may be drawing closer to [Hamas leaders] Yahya Sinwar & Mohammed Deif. The question now: will they flee Gaza by tunnel to Egypt or fight to the end?
Hamas is not just “losing control of Gaza,” but many of its members are losing the will to fight. They have seen more than 900 of the Hamas tunnels destroyed, more than 6,000 of their fellow operatives have been killed, more than half of the Hamas’ battalion commanders have been killed, vast amounts of weaponry have been seized or destroyed, much of Gaza City and Khan Younis, where that weaponry and those command-and-control centers were located, have been reduced to rubble. The airstrikes keep coming, without the loss of a single plane. The Merkava tanks keep moving into position around Khan Younis, pounding targets deep inside the city, as they did earlier around Gaza City; Hamas fires RPGs at them, but only a single Israeli tank has been put out of service, and that one was quickly repaired and put back in operation.
What will Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif do as their Gazan empire crumbles around them? I think they’ll do everything they can to escape. If they should manage to slip away to Egypt through a tunnel, the Egyptians won’t return them to Israel but will promptly imprison them as members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood (Hamas is the Gazan branch of the MB). If they can’t get out of Gaza, and don’t dare try to survive in the underground tunnels that may at any minute be flooded with seawater by the IDF, they’ll meekly surrender, or try to. Let’s hope that the IDF makes an exception in this case to its usual policy of taking alive those who surrender; Sinwar and Deif deserve special treatment.