Hamas opponent tells RT about his fight for Gaza’s future — RT World News

Polls suggest support for the armed group in the enclave is growing, but the activist says the reality is different.

In June, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research conducted a poll released Opinion poll results show growing support for Hamas, the Islamist movement that has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007.

According to the poll, 67% of respondents – both in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank – support Hamas's decision to launch its deadly attacks on Israel on October 7. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they would like Hamas to rule Gaza after the war ends.

But does this data reflect the reality on the ground? RT spoke to Rami Aman, a social activist from Gaza who has been declared a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International.

Support fade

“It is the media that creates this illusion that Hamas is getting stronger – and Hamas exploits this illusion. Of course, they have their supporters in Gaza, but the truth is that since the beginning of the war and even before that, they have only lost support among the masses.”claims Aman.

Since the beginning of the current conflict, Israel has bombarded the Strip with tons of explosives. More than 38,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the process. According to To the Ministry of Health in Gaza. The infrastructure has been repaired. destructiveMany cities were damaged beyond repair.

While Gazans hold Israel responsible for their suffering, many have also pointed the finger at Hamas, and social media has been a source of ridicule. Packed Videos have been circulating in which Gazans openly condemn the movement. Many are no longer so vocal about the movement, and some have even started naming their donkeys after the movement’s leaders, to show their disdain for these senior officials.

Seeds of change

Aman was one of the first people to start this resistance to Hamas. For him, the rejection of the movement began in 2009 during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead.

In those days, Aman was working as a news producer, covering the war, Hamas activity and funerals resulting from Israeli bombing.

“I remember Hamas was celebrating the killing of our people, and I said to myself, if they don’t have a problem with losing 400 people, they won’t cry over losing hundreds and thousands more.”.

In 2009, Aman wanted to make a difference, but the opportunity didn’t arise until two years later, in 2011, when the region was swept by mass anti-government protests as part of the Arab Spring. At the time, groups of young people in the Gaza Strip, including Aman, took to Facebook and called on Gazans to take to the streets on March 15. Their demand was simple: They wanted to see an end to the divisions between the various Palestinian factions and called for elections in Gaza and the West Bank.

“At that time, we distributed many posters and leaflets, pasted them on walls, distributed them to people, and stuck them on cars. We were engaged in this activity day and night, and I remember that we were able to gather large crowds of young people, students from different backgrounds, families, and businessmen. On March 15, thousands took to the streets demanding change.”

But Hamas had no intention of seeing this happen. From morning until the end of the day, the group’s security forces suppressed the protesters, confiscating their banners, beating some and arresting others. They set fire to their tents, fired into the air, and finally dispersed the crowds. Calm was restored, any political movements that dared to challenge Hamas were banned, and student activities on campus were restricted. But Aman admits that this attempt to silence him only strengthened his will to continue the struggle.

Since then, he and his comrades have organized numerous anti-Hamas protests. Some aimed to improve the living conditions of Gazans, while others rejected political arrests, demanded fair and transparent elections, called for an end to internal conflicts, and even urged normalization of relations with Israel.

Gaza saw one of its largest protests in 2017, when more than 100,000 Gazans took to the streets to urge Hamas to solve the territory’s electricity crisis. Another major demonstration was held in March 2019, with crowds demanding better living conditions, lower taxes and lower food prices. Then came COVID-19 and a ban on mass gatherings, but in 2023, protests began to resurface, as people expressed their anger over their dire economic conditions, extreme poverty and high unemployment rates.

Aman says Hamas was worried; political arrests and executions, which had been regular in the past, were becoming more frequent.

man Poetry He says he can’t count the number of times he’s been arrested, detained, beaten and imprisoned throughout his years of social activism. Sometimes the arrests were brief. Other times, he spent months in prison. In 2021, he had had enough. Shortly after being released again, he packed his bags and left for Cairo, where he lives today, far from the turmoil of the Gaza war. But many family members and friends remain in Gaza, and so does his heart.

“I will never stop fighting for the future of Gaza” Aman said. “We were the seeds of the movement that wanted change because Hamas doesn’t care about the people of Gaza, it only cares about itself. And I think change is still possible. Maybe not now, but Hamas was elected for four years, not forever. And it will have to go one day.” The activist concluded.

Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007 after ousting officials from Fatah, its main rival. As a result, the gap between the two factions, which was wide even before the confrontation, widened, hampering elections. Over the years, there have been a number of internal and regional initiatives that have tried to promote reconciliation, but they have not achieved any change.

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