A new movement in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip is calling for the ouster of the terror group, claiming that it no longer represented the people and accusing it of numerous crimes against the civilian population.
The Tamarod Movement Against Oppression in Gaza uploaded to YouTube on Monday a statement announcing a mass demonstration to bring down the Hamas regime on November 11, the anniversary of the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Three members were arrested overnight, according to a statement on the group’s Facebook page Thursday afternoon.
The YouTube video elicited a response from Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, imploring popular youth movements not to follow dangerous paths and emphasizing the importance of Palestinian unity, according to a report by Ma’an news agency on Wednesday. “We hear some calling for rebellion and action and so on,” said Haniyeh. “I am with rebellion — but against the enemy occupation, as we are all rebellious people against the occupier, against disgrace, ignominy and siege.”
Four members of the group appeared in the video, all wearing masks to conceal their identities, with one reading from a prepared statement declaring that Hamas does not represent the people of Gaza.
“On the shining day [of November 11], we will shake off the tyranny and oppression of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza. They are no brothers of ours,” he said. “They have deceived us in the name of religion and ‘resistance.’ They have labeled themselves as believers and us as infidels.”
He went on to describe his group as a “Palestinian youth movement, which encompasses all hues and orientations,” and said all factions of Gazan society have suffered under the rule of Hamas.
“Our people, of all national inclinations and ideologies — even the Islamic ones — have been targets for the crimes of this heretic gang, which carried out killings, torture, and sabotage, and acted like thugs, taking bribes and smuggling, just like a gang from the Middle Ages,” he said.
A translated section of the video was provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a nonprofit group that says it seeks to “bridge the language gap between the Middle East and the West by monitoring, translating, and studying Arab, Iranian and Turkish media, schoolbooks, and religious sermons.”
The Gaza group borrows its name from the Egyptian Tamarod (rebellion) movement that was influential in organizing the mass protests that led to the fall of president Mohammed Morsi.
The emergence of the group, whose Facebook page had some 40,000 likes as of Thursday evening, is the latest sign that Gaza is feeling the effects of the unrest that has enveloped Egypt since the fall of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government to a military-backed coup July 3.
Since then, the Egyptian government has closed the Rafah border crossing to Gaza on several occasions, most recently after 24 members of the Egyptian security forces were killed in an attack on Monday. Hamas has publicly called on Egypt to reopen the border.
Tension between Hamas and the new Egyptian government have escalated recently, with Egyptians sources confirming earlier Thursday in a phone call with The Times of Israel that they believe that senior members of al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups are hiding out in the Sinai Peninsula with the help of Hamas.