Hamas came to an agreement recently with leaders of demonstrations in the Gaza Strip, in which they would refrain from protest activities along the border fence that could lead to conflict with Israel.
According to Israel Radio, the arrangement came in the wake of a message Israel passed along to the Islamist group through Egypt. As a result, fewer protesters have been showing up at the fence to demonstrate on Fridays.
Still, leaders of youth movements in the Strip are calling on their followers to demonstrate along the fence on Sunday to mark Land Day.
The Land Day rallies are an annual event marked by Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to protest what they view as discriminatory Israeli land policies. The event was instituted following the killing of six Arab citizens of Israel by soldiers and policemen during protests against government land seizures in 1976.
Hamas has fallen on hard times since its key ally, Egypt’s Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, was ousted in a coup last July. Egypt’s new military government has cracked down on a system of smuggling tunnels along the border with Gaza, robbing Hamas of a lifeline that provided consumer goods, weapons and a key source of tax revenue. Israel has maintained a blockade of Gaza since 2007, restricting imports and exports and controlling the territory’s coastline and airspace.
The dual Israel-Egyptian blockade has plunged Hamas into its worst economic crisis since taking power. The group has struggled to pay its thousands of workers and has begun to face some discontent, even among core supporters.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.