Written by 05:50 World

As War Drags On, Gazans More Willing to Speak Out Against Hamas

On Oct. 7, as the Hamas-led attack on Israel was unfolding, many Palestinians took to the streets of Gaza to celebrate what they likened to a prison break and saw as the sudden humiliation of an occupier.

But it was just a temporary boost for Hamas, whose support among Gazans has been low for some time. And as the Israeli onslaught has brought widespread devastation and tens of thousands of deaths, the group and its leaders have remained broadly unpopular in the enclave. More Gazans have even been willing to speak out against Hamas, risking retribution.

In interviews with nearly a dozen Gaza residents in recent months, a number of them said they held Hamas responsible for starting the war and helping to bring death and destruction upon them, even as they blame Israel first and foremost.

One Gazan, Raed al-Kelani, 47, said Hamas always acts in its own interests.

“It started Oct. 7, and it wants to end it on its own terms,” said Mr. al-Kelani, who worked as a civil servant for the former Palestinian Authority government in Gaza, which was run by a rival faction to Hamas before Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007.

“But time is ticking with no potential hope of ending this,” he added. Mr. al-Kelani now makes meals and distributes food aid in shelters for displaced Gazans. “Hamas is still seeking its slice of power,” he said. “Hamas does not know how to get down from the tree it climbed.”

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Last modified: 17 June 2024
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