Ramallah: The ruling Fatah in the West Bank has questioned the failure of Palestinians in Gaza to revolt against the Islamist movement of Hamas which rules the coastal strip with an iron fist.
“Why shouldn’t Palestinians in the Gaza Strip revolt against Hamas?” asked Ahmad Assaf, the official spokesman of Fatah in the West Bank in an interview with Gulf News.
Assaf claims that Hamas controls the daily life of Gazans and the movement imposes rules on people about what to wear and how to cut their hair. The movement has also imposed a ban on smoking Shisha.
“Hamas is driving the Palestinians in Gaza to revolt against it,” he said.
Assaf said that Hamas also picks who can travel abroad and who cannot.
“Hamas adopts double standards which has motivated people to consider a revolt,” he stressed. “The economic conditions of Gazans, except Hamas leaders, are miserable.”
“Hamas uses force to suppress all voices against it and is ready to use any measure to secure its control,” he said.
A new protest group “Tamarod”, set up in the Gaza Strip to challenge Hamas, adopting the Egyptian style of revolt, plans mass rallies in Gaza to mark the ninth death anniversary of the late Palestinian icon Yasser Arafat.
Assaf alleged that Hamas has arrested hundreds of Palestinians to thwart planned activities to mark Arafat’s anniversary.
“Hamas security forces have forced those detained to sign pledges vowing not to take part in any activity on the Arafat’s death anniversary,” he said, adding that only some of them were released after signing the pledges.
Assaf declined to comment on any kind of relationship between Fatah and Tamarod, saying that he did not have any kind of information about the group. “We do not know who they are,” he said.
Hamas accuses its rival Fatah of having been involved in founding, supporting and financing the Tamarod group, but Fatah denied all such accusations.
Talal Okal, a commentator and political analyst in Gaza, said that Fatah could be a supporter of Tamarod as its goals serve the group.
“However, Fatah may not be involved in such a new and small group in Gaza. Fatah has a huge presence in Gaza and could have done it with its cadre and members and in its own way if it wanted to,” he told Gulf News.
Okal said that Tamarod is a youth protest group which Hamas will never be able to end or even confront. “Tamarod is gaining acceptance with the Palestinian public who are angry about Hamas,” he said, adding that it was not right for Hamas to regard all those who oppose it to be on the wrong side and deserve violent confrontation.
“Gazan circumstances are completely different from the circumstances in Egypt and Hamas has already taken all the necessary precautions to minimise Tamarod impact,” he stressed.
“Nothing much will happen tomorrow (Monday) as there have been no signs whatsoever of such a big event in Gaza,” he said.
“There will be some minor protests here and there in Gaza but never as big as some people might assume,” he said.