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Is Hamas Finished? Facing a Youth Rebellion and Egyptian, Iranian Hostility


line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Lucida Sans Unicode";color:black”>The party-militia Hamas, a distant offshoot in Palestinian Gaza of the Muslim Brotherhood, has seldom been on the sunny side of the street. But a combination of difficult political choices has left it more isolated and more broke than ever before in its history, as China’s Xinhua wire service points out. Adding insult to injury, it faces a Tamarrud (Rebellion) youth movement of a strong secularist bent that is vowing to do to it what Tamarrud in Egypt did to former President Muhammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Lucida Sans Unicode";color:black”>Israel imposed a blockade on the entirety of Gaza in 2007 after its attempt to dislodge the party from power there failed. The blockade was damaging but imperfect, creating deep unemployment and food insecurity. There were ways partially to circumvent it. Egypt winked at the construction of huge underground tunnels from Gaza to the Sinai desert, through which smugglers brought in millions of dollars worth of goods. Moreover, cash came in from Iran to reward Hamas (Sunni fundamantalists) for allying with secular Syria and the Shiite fundamentalist Hizbullah of south Lebanon.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Lucida Sans Unicode";color:black”>These were not ideological allies but rather strange bedfellows, all of whom only had in common fear of Israeli expansionism. The expansionism may have been driven by Israel’s own insecurity, but it was real. Israel occupied and tried to colonize Gaza 1967 to 2005, occupied Syrian territory in Golan from 1967, and occupied a substantial swath of south Lebanon 1982-2000. In fact, neither the people in Gaza nor the Shiites in South Lebanon had been particularly militant before the Israelis tried to batten on to them and oppress and exploit them.

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 Hamas keeps a secret string of secret prisons where they imprison their ideological (secular) enemies and where they practice the ugliest kinds of torture and interrogations. The Gaza Rebellion/ Tamarrud movement claims to have masses of supportersand to be considered a real threat by Hamas.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:"Lucida Sans Unicode";
color:black”>In fact, the Israelis are now being a little nicer to Gaza than the Egyptians, since they are sending in a few truck loads of building materials, on which they still have restrictions lest Hamas build military bunkers with the cement. The extent of Israeli generosity should not be exaggerated. The USG Open Source Center translates this item for September 21: “Palestinian Information Center in Arabic at 0819 GMT on 21 September cites Deputy Jamal al-Khudari, chairman of the popular committee for confronting the siege, as saying that ‘losses incurred by the suspension of the projects of the private sector, the municipalities, and the various institutions in the Gaza Strip have reached $100 million as a result of the Zionist siege,’ adding that ‘Israel’s promises to allow entry of building material covers only 25 percent of these projects if Israel fulfills its promise, which means the continued disruption of many of these projects.’”

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:"Lucida Sans Unicode";
color:black”>Some observers are speculating that the Egyptian army will intervene in Gaza to overthrow Hamas. Others think Hamas will be forced by its new financial woes to make up with the PLO, which runs the West Bank, and essentially put itself under President Mahmoud Abbas.

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color:black”>While it is true that guerrilla movements are difficult to simply starve out, Hamas does at the moment seem in real trouble. There have long been signs that Palestinian youth in Gaza are sick and tired of its extreme fundamentalism, so if change comes, it could have a local social base. 

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