Dissatisfaction, Fear Grow in Gaza as IDF Crackdown Continues
Palestinian Arabs have made a show of celebrating the kidnapping of three missing yeshiva students, taking to social media and handing out sweets in public places.
However, most Gazans are actually very concerned at the thought of Israel launching a full-scale invasion in Gaza, sources told Walla! News on Wednesday, causing rising dissent against the Hamas government there amidst an unemployment crisis and bad management.
Residents said Wednesday that they were hoarding gas and food ahead of a possible assault, saying they were also mindful of the kidnapping's timing - just two weeks before the month-long fast of Ramadan.
Meanwhile, tensions are rising over Gaza's 44% unemployment rate, they added, as 40,000 Hamas government workers begin to grumble at not being paid their salaries for months.
Analysts say the atmosphere could potentially lead to an uprising, citing previous attempts to overthrow the Islamists, which fell flat. Meanwhile, the unity government has already begun to crumble from within in the kidnapping's wake, with Hamas and Fatah firing blame at each other over the incident.
"[Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud] Abbas's statements on security coordination with Israel are unjustified, harmful to Palestinian reconciliation," Hamas representative Sami Abu Zuhri said Wednesday to AFP.
Meanwhile, Abbas has publicly distanced himself from Hamas over the kidnapping, which IDF officials say was conducted by Hamas terrorists operating in Judea and Samaria - potentially without the aid of Hamas in Gaza.
Abbas upped the ante Wednesday by threatening to end its unity deal with Hamas over the kidnapping according to unconfirmed reports.