Stephens in his opinion piece, of which the following is an excerpt, makes the case that Hamas is diabolically cynical and details why. It's a "win" for Hamas when Jews are killed; it's a "win" for Hamas when Palestinians are killed as it achieves sympathy and publicity. It should be no surprise that despite dire warning leaflets from Israel, Hamas tells its citizens not to evacuate.
Hamas spends fortunes building a war machine whose only purpose is to strike Israel. In 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported that with the money Hamas could have spent to build a single tunnel to infiltrate into Israel, it could have purchased construction supplies “enough to build 86 homes, seven mosques, six schools or 19 medical clinics.” At the time, Israel had identified at least 32 such tunnels.
A Hamas that wanted a more prosperous Gaza — one that did not make its neighbors put up fences around it and towers to guard them — could have it, simply by desisting from its ideological aims. If Gaza is the open-air prison that so many of Israel’s critics allege, it’s not because Israelis are capriciously cruel but because too many of its residents pose a mortal risk. For proof, just look at the Oct. 7 pogrom.