A group of Gazan youths had hoped to topple the Hamas government this week, but those hopes fizzled away as did the group’s protests.
The Tamarod movement, inspired by its Egyptian counterpart that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi, had called for toppling Hamas on November 11. However, reported Al-Monitor, that day has come and gone peacefully, contrary to what was expected.
The news website’s reporter in Gaza said that streets were almost empty on the morning of November 11, except for some security men at the main intersections in Palestine Square and at university crossroads.
There were some skirmishes between students and security men at the building of the faculty of sciences at Al-Azhar University, but that was about it, according to Al-Monitor.
Abu Mohammad (not his real name), one of the university’s guards, told the website, “This is a fight between security men and university students. It has nothing to do with Tamarod. In the morning there was a pro-Tamarod rally, but we deterred it. We do not want problems today, because they affect the educational process.”
Tamarod (“Revolt” in Arabic) had called for demonstrations in Gaza to coincide with the ninth anniversary of the death of Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasser Arafat, but even before Monday, the day of the protest, it was unclear how much public support they will garner.
“The absence of any marches on this day is primarily due to the fact that no events were publicly announced to commemorate the 9th anniversary of Arafat’s death, especially because of the turmoil caused by Tamarod’s calls and Hamas’ refusal to hold events in his memory,” political writer Atef Abu Seif told Al-Monitor.
“This has nothing to do with the public’s appreciation of Arafat. It is rather related to Fatah command’s mismanagement in Gaza,” he explained.
“The public did not respond to Tamarod’s calls, because it is a virtual movement that was launched by non-influential groups, which did not adopt any political approach. For this reason, succeeding is not an easy thing for Tamarod,” Abu Seif clarified.
Moreover, Abu Seif said that “reviving the Egyptian model is wrong, because there is no army in the Gaza Strip to support the popular movements against the government.”
A security source from Hamas’s Ministry of Interior’s press office, speaking to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, said that no major incident took place on Monday.
“I called the police operations room at the end of the day and not one exceptional case was recorded, despite the spread of lies claiming that governmental headquarters have been seized.”
He confirmed that it was a normal day and that what happened at Al-Azhar University was a misunderstanding by the security men.
The group has claimed that Hamas has abandoned its goal of armed resistance against Israel since taking over Gaza by force when it routed Fatah rivals in 2007.
On Facebook, it accuses the Hamas government of failing "to provide a decent life" by imposing heavy taxes on residents, and argues that the Hamas security agency has repressed and intimidated Gazans.
Tamarod has also declared that its next target - after Hamas control in Gaza, of course - is Jewish control over the State of Israel.
The Tamarod branch in Egypt has also targeted Israel, specifically its peace treaty with Egypt. After it succeeded in ousting Morsi, the movement said it had begun collecting signatures to a new initiative calling to cancel the peace treaty signed between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1979.
The movement argued that the agreements with Israel prevent Egypt from deploying large-scale military forces to the Sinai Peninsula which has been rampant with terrorists.