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Hamas under pressure: negotiations and demonstrations

Gaza beach

Time flies, the month of January is nearing its end, and despite the high expectations of “moving to phase three” (which is indeed taking place, but not quite as imagined), the IDF is not reducing the pressure from Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Division 98 continues with full momentum in the occupation of Khan Yunis, Division 162 cleanses areas which the IDF left and Hamas felt it could ‘raise its head’, and the Gaza Division continues its long work to create the ‘buffer zone’, a mile wide area along the entire Gaza border, flattening houses and fields. Hamas has not been able to carry out a significant attack since then, and the missile and rocket fire has almost disappeared.

The matter has implications for the official policy of Hamas, with various reports considering different proposals to return the hostages to Israel, with disagreements on the details (complete or partial cessation of hostilities, short-term/prolonged, and various humanitarian benefits). This is in contrast to the official policy expressed by Hamas until now, since the end of the brief ceesefire, which rejected any discussion of the release of additional hostages before the end of the war. In other words, the military pressure does its magic on the Hamas leadership, even if slowly.

In addition, on Wednesday morning in the Deir al-Balah refugee camp in the center of the Gaza Strip, an extremely rare event took place, like we have almost never seen before, and certainly never in times of war – a popular demonstration against Hamas. Many displaced persons gathered to demand that Hamas do everything possible to return them to their homes in the northern Gaza Strip, even if it requires the immediate return of all the abductees to Israel. It is interesting to compare this demonstration with the demonstrations currently taking place in Israel, but it’s important to remember a fundamental difference – while Israel is a democratic country that retains the right to demonstrate, Hamas dominates the Gaza Strip with tyranny, suppresses resistance and silences public criticism. It takes a lot of courage to demonstrate against Hamas – or a general sense of Hamas losing control, or loss of fear. In any event, this indicates that the Gaza citizens are in distress and may pressure Hamas to advance the Israeli interest.

To respond – rxpuyhi@gmail.com

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