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Fearing Mass Anti-Government Movements, Hamas Cracks Down on Political Dissent

Hamas authorities in Gaza are intensifying their crack down on political activity across a number of platforsm. The Palestinian terror group si reportedly driven, among other things, by fears that the territory could experience mass protests like those that overthrow the organization’s Muslim Brotherhood allies in Egypt.

Gazan activists, unhappy with the division between  Hamas and Fatah, had formed a group called Ya Filastini Tamarod (“Palestinian, Rebel!”). The group’s activities have triggered comparisons to Egyptian Tamarod movement which was able to gather tens of millions of signatures and ultimately force the Brotherhood-linked then-president Mohamed Morsi out of power.

Hamas has now taken to breaking up demonstrations even when they’re aimed at Israel:

“We were shocked,” said Ouroula Othman, Tamarod’s spokesperson. “If it had been the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, we could have understood, because they have a relationship with Israel. “But even though Hamas is always talking about resistance against Israel, they thought people might use this campaign against them”…

“Hamas is very sensitive and nervous about us. I expect to be arrested any day,” said Tariq al-Farra, 27, who said he had been detained 17 times since 2007, when Hamas seized power in Gaza. “Three people in Nusairat [a Gaza refugee camp] were arrested after being overheard talking about us and they weren’t even members.

“The surveillance is obvious on social media, where I feel I am being observed and followed. When I expressed my opinion about Egypt on Facebook, saying that the legitimacy came from the 33 million who took to the streets [against Mr Morsi], I could tell that some of the comments were from Hamas spokesmen and that they were very angry.”

Similarly, the Palestinian variant of Tamarod not only opposes Hamas, but also the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) regime in the West Bank. Tamarod activists view the Western-backed PA as illegitimate because it works with Israel. The movement’s ultimate goal is to depose both Hamas and the PA.

[Photo: Soman / Wiki Commons]