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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Hamas Suppresses the Protest Movement in the Gaza Strip

Filed under: Hamas, Palestinians

Hamas Suppresses the Protest Movement in the Gaza Strip
“We want to live”… Palestinians protest Hamas taxes. (Al-Sharq)
  • Hamas forcibly suppresses the protest movement in the Gaza Strip against the difficult economic situation and the corruption of its rule.
  • The Israeli security establishment is worried about an imminent explosion in the Gaza Strip that Hamas will try to deflect in Israel’s direction.
  • Meanwhile, Hamas sentenced seven Gazans to death this week for collaboration with Israel.1
A demonstration in Gaza
A demonstration in Gaza (Akhbar-Sharq)

Hamas security officials arrested journalist Bashar Taleb in the Gaza Strip this weekend. They confiscated his photographic equipment after he covered the wave of protests in the Gaza Strip on July 30, 2023, against the Hamas government.

The Fatah movement condemned his arrest and demanded his release. Sources in the Gaza Strip claim that the “Bidna Na’ish” (Want to Live) movement, which operated in the Gaza Strip in 2019 and was brutally suppressed by the Hamas regime, has reawakened and is responsible for the wave of protests in the Gaza Strip last week.

Thousands of demonstrators demonstrated last week in various centers in the Gaza Strip and called for the overthrow of the Hamas government.

The Hamas movement deployed large forces throughout the Gaza Strip, imposed a blanket ban on press coverage of the demonstrations, and arrested suspects for organizing the protests.

The background for the protests this time was the Gaza Strip’s economic situation, the announcement of new taxes, the terrible electricity shortage in the current heat wave, the rising unemployment, and the corruption of the Hamas government.

Demonstrations in Khan Yunis
Demonstrations in Khan Yunis, Gaza, on July 30, 2023. (MEMRI/AMAD Media/YouTube)

Residents in the Gaza Strip claim that the Hamas government makes sure that the electricity in the Gaza Strip is provided first and foremost to the homes of the movement’s leaders, its government institutions, and mosques and that it deprives the residents of the Gaza Strip in the way it distributes the electricity.

The protests broke out in Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip and spread to the Gaza Strip’s center and north.

The demonstrators were mainly members of the younger generation who were fed up with the harsh living conditions and the siege imposed on the Strip. The demonstrations erupted while the Hamas leadership was meeting in Cairo with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for reconciliation talks, which this time also came to an impasse.

The demonstrators in Khan Yunis waved Palestinian flags. They called on PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to intervene in the Gaza Strip situation and end Palestinian society’s disputes.

Many residents in the Gaza Strip are angry at the leadership of the Hamas movement, particularly after former Hamas leader Khaled Mashal admitted that the division in Palestinian society is the result of a fight over the public’s pieces of cake. Mashal resides today in Qatar.

“The only explanation for the split in Palestinian society is the competition for leadership. There are no real reasons; we are fighting over the government cake even though it really isn’t a real cake,” Meshaal said.

The “Bidna Na’ish” movement announced at the end of last week the continuation of its activities despite the oppression of Hamas to bring a “better human life” to the residents of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas’ security forces were deployed in large forces all over the Gaza Strip last Friday for fear that after the Friday prayer, the wave of demonstrations against Hamas rule would reawaken.

The Hamas movement began a public defamation campaign of the protest movement on social media. It accused it of collaborating with the Israeli Shin Bet and the Palestinian Authority’s intelligence to shake the stability of Hamas’s rule in the Gaza Strip.

The preachers in the mosques in the Gaza Strip incited, at the behest of Hamas, against the protest movement, claiming that although the movement’s demands regarding the urgent need to improve the standard of living in the Gaza Strip are justified, the wave of demonstrations is entirely unnecessary and that anyone who goes out to demonstrate is a traitor and an apostate to the Islamic religion.

The Hamas movement disavows all responsibility for the difficult economic situation in the Gaza Strip, suppresses the protest movement by force, and places the responsibility on Israel’s economic blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip from 2007 until today.

Hamas is determined to continue preserving its rule in the Gaza Strip and the phenomena of governmental corruption and oppression of the residents of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli security establishment fears Hamas will try to divert the widespread anger toward Israel, which could lead to large demonstrations on the Gaza border fence and rocket fire against Israel.

The security establishment is now considering increasing the number of Gazan workers allowed to work in Israel. Currently, the number is about 17,000 workers, and the possibility of allowing a few thousand more to work in Israel is being considered to alleviate the economic situation in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas movement managed last weekend to suppress the renewal of the wave of protests. Still, the Gaza time bomb is ticking and threatens to explode at any moment in the face of the Hamas government and in Israel’s face, too.

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