Palestinian Arabs Rage Against the Hamas Machine

News: Hundreds of palestinian Arabs have taken part in an online event criticizing Hamas.

Also news: The BBC has covered the story!

Hundreds of Palestinian activists have been taking part in a rare online event strongly criticising Hamas governance of the Gaza Strip.

They Kidnapped Gaza began as an audio discussion on Twitter on Thursday.

The three-hour long, live conversation was organised by five Gazans who left the Palestinian territory after joining theĀ We Want to Live protests which were violently suppressed in March 2019.

The economy has been badly hit by the pandemic and an 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas militants in May 2021. However, it is unusual to hear residents voice any complaints about those in charge out of fear.

“Hamas has billions of dollars in investments in many countries, while people [in Gaza] starve to death and migrate in search of work,” said another activist, Amer Balosha, during the social media event.

He highlighted the plight of more than 100 Gazans, now imprisoned in Turkey after trying to travel illegally to Greece in search of new lives in Europe.

“Hamas, which is responsible for their efforts to emigrate due to its policies, did not intervene to release them,” continued Mr Balosha, a 29-year-old law graduate of Al-Azhar University.

The Palestinian Islamist group, Hamas, took full control of Gaza in 2007, ousting Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces in days of bloody fighting, a year after Hamas won the Palestinians’ last parliamentary election.

Following its takeover, Israel and Egypt imposed a tight blockade against the militants which has squeezed the Palestinian territory. Internationally, Hamas is widely seen as a terrorist group.

In 2019, demonstrations over the high price of food and lack of jobs brought hundreds of Gazans out on the streets of city centres and refugee camps. They were of a scale and intensity that had not previously been seen under Hamas’s iron rule.

Videos shared online showed security services hitting people and shooting live ammunition into the air to disperse the crowds.

You can see the Tweets here, but you’ll need to use auto-translate unless your Arabic is up to scratch. Here are some of them with translation:

And Hamas’ response? “Look over there at those big fat Fatah meanies!”

Hamas accused its political rival, Fatah, which dominates the PA, of being behind the protests. However, many young Palestinians criticise both factions, accusing all of the Palestinian leadership of ignoring their daily strife.

A Hamas spokesman did not respond directly when the BBC asked for his reaction to the They Kidnapped Gaza virtual event and hashtag still being used on Twitter.

Instead, he pointed out that a new hashtag being used in criticism of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), which began circulating in reaction, had been more popular. The PLO is headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Not surprisingly, the Israel-haters are silent on this. One of them, Ken Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, did find the time, though, to tweet repeatedly about Israel:

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media