Daniella Peled

Hamas has fallen out of favour with ordinary Gazans

Earlier this year, Daniella Peled suggested that Hamas had finally lost its grip on Gaza:

Gaza City

  Tattered green Hamas flags still flap above the streets in central Gaza and posters of its martyrs hang in public spaces. But these are tough times for the Hamas government, and not just due to the recent flare-up in tensions with Israel. In December last year, they cancelled rallies planned for the 26th anniversary of their founding, an occasion celebrated ever since they seized power here in 2007, and though usually secretive about their financial affairs, they revealed a 2014 budget of $589 million, with a gigantic 75 per cent deficit. So, what’s gone wrong for Hamas? Just a year ago, it seemed to be enjoying a honeymoon here. It had not only survived the second major Israeli assault in four years, but had the backing of the Arab world’s largest state, Egypt. There was a rift with Iran over the Syrian civil war, but oil-rich Qatar was vying with Turkey over who could best boost the Gazan economy. In a matter of months, all of this has been swept away. History has taken several unfortunate turns, as far as Hamas is concerned: Qatar’s leadership has changed, with a far less friendly new emir, and Ankara is stalling over Hamas requests to move their political bureau to Turkey. While relations with Iran are on the mend, they are not yet back to their previous warmth (of before the Syrian civil war), and Hamas still supports the rights of their Sunni brethren, the Syrian rebels, to depose Bashar al-Assad. But the biggest problem for Hamas stems from Egypt’s military takeover last June. Cairo’s current administration makes no secret of its antipathy towards Muslim Brotherhood-allied Hamas and has set to work severing Gaza’s lifeline — the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt.

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