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July 27, 2014 2:07 pm
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Support for Hamas Waning; Gazan Journalist Says Most Gazans Hate Hamas

avatar by Deborah Danan

A child at a Hamas rally. Photo: Wikipedia.

All indicators seem to point to waning support for Hamas in the Gaza Strip. According to Orly Perlov, a researcher at the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS), Gazans are fed up with Hamas but that they won’t revolt for fear of death. “The public in Gaza rightly assumes that the weapons are in the hands of Hamas and know they will end up dead,” Perlov said in an interview with Al Monitor.

An expert in analyzing social media networks, Perlov drew her conclusion after speaking to leaders of public opinion on social media networks and scanning hundreds of posts. “You have to understand that the Gaza networks are the only tool that enables a democratic and egalitarian discourse, because Hamas has yet to really figure out what goes on there, and that’s why the networks enjoy relative freedom,” she told Al Monitor.

When she asked for the reasons behind the Gazans’ reluctance in protesting against Hamas, Perlov received the following response: “Hamas has the weapons and so when we [the Gazan public] see what’s happening in Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Iran, and Turkey, we understand that Hamas won’t think twice about shooting us.”

As the most recent reports emerging from Gaza indicate, these fears stand to reason. According to WND, Hamas used a recent humanitarian ceasefire to kill at least 25 civilians suspected of collaborating with Israel.

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A recently released poll published by the Washington Institute of Near East Policy corroborates Perlov’s view that Hamas has been losing support within Gaza. The study, which notably was conducted prior to Israel’s July 18 incursion by a respected Palestinians pollster, demonstrates that the majority of Gazans are unhappy with Hamas governance – for myriad reasons. A large majority (71 percent) said that crime was a “significant” problem. Two-thirds said that another significant problem was official corruption. Another 70 percent of poll respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “Hamas should maintain a ceasefire with Israel in both Gaza and the West Bank.”

David Pollack, the researcher behind the study said, “With so many Palestinians actually saying they want peace and support an immediate cease fire, it means Hamas is imposing this war against Israel on its own people.”

Fox News quoted an unnamed Palestinian journalist at a local Gazan media outlet as saying, “Nobody can forgive Hamas for what they’re doing. No one can forgive Hamas for butchering Palestinians to get power. Most Gazans hate Hamas with a passion.”

He continued, “The only reason Hamas rules Gaza is because of its ruthless iron fist and military dictatorship,” he said. “We would love to have an independence from both Fatah and Hamas, who are profiting off the Palestinian people. We need to rule ourselves.”

Fox also interviewed Mudhar Zahran, a Palestinian politician in the West Bank. According to Zahran, Hamas has never been so unpopular in Gaza. “No normal human being can watch what’s going on and still support Hamas,” said Zahran. I beg the Israeli army to understand that Hamas uses civilians, while their own leaders (like Mashaal) are hiding in Qatar.”

According to Perlov, there’s no threat of a third Intifada in the future because there aren’t enough people willing to take to the streets. “Hamas hasn’t managed to get people out and it seems that this tool is limited and worn,” she said.

And it isn’t only Hamas’ support structure that seems to be crumbling, even within the organization’s militia wing terrorists seem to be losing the will to continue the fight.

According to Israeli website NRG, Soldiers and officers in front-line Israeli army commando units fighting in Gaza are telling the press that, in face-to-face battle, Hamas militants usually break and run, rather than fight. “We’re seeing a lot of valor among our troops and a lot of cowardice from the Hamas,” a Lt.-Col. in the elite Duvedevan unit said. “In every case, the terrorists threw down their weapons and fled into their warrens or back into the strip.”

To date, the IDF said it has targeted over “3,747 terror targets with ground, naval and aerial capabilities, including over 30 tunnels.”  For their part, Palestinian terrorists have fired more than 2450 rockets and mortars at Israel since the beginning of the operation.

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