New footage purportedly shows Gazan civilians protesting against Hamas

Deteriorating humanitarian situation reportedly prompts some Gazans to rally against terror leaders; Sinwar is said to be ill but to have broken a week-long radio silence

Gianluca Pacchiani is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Palestinians storm a UN-run aid supply center that distributes food to displaced families in the Gaza Strip, Deir al-Balah on October 28, 2023. (Mohammed Abed / AFP)
Palestinians storm a UN-run aid supply center that distributes food to displaced families in the Gaza Strip, Deir al-Balah on October 28, 2023. (Mohammed Abed / AFP)

An anti-Hamas Telegram channel shared a series of videos on Tuesday night purportedly documenting protests against the terror group in the Strip.

In the short clips published on the “Gaza’s Liberators” channel, people are seen chanting slogans against Hamas leaders: “Bring down Hamas,” “The people want a bag of flour, and “Sinwar, Haniyeh, the people are the victims,” referencing Hamas’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar and politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh.

They were reportedly filmed in Rafah, the southern town where over a million displaced Gazans are sheltering from the flighting, and Jabaliya, in the north of the Strip.

Another slogan heard in the footage, which rhymes in Arabic, is: “Listen, listen, Haniyeh, come back home from Turkey; listen, listen, [Osama] Hamdan, come back home from Lebanon.”

Osama Hamdan is a top Hamas official living in Beirut. Ismail Haniyeh used to divide his time between Turkey, where most of his family resides and where he reportedly owns vast real estate properties, and Qatar. After the October 7 onslaught, Ankara reportedly demanded that Hamas leaders leave the country, and Haniyeh has been based in Doha ever since.

In both locations where the footage was apparently filmed, the channel reported that Hamas security forces opened fire on the crowds. In Jabaliya, one person was reportedly killed and three were seriously wounded. The information could not be independently verified, and it is unclear how many people participated in the protests.

Three of the clips were shared by the IDF’s Arabic language spokesperson Avichay Adraee on X on Wednesday, who commented: “The people of Gaza know the cause of the tragedy in the Strip and the consequences of the flood of devastation and terror generated by Sinwar and his clique.”

“Al-Aqsa flood” was the name given by Hamas to its October 7 terror operation, in which it murdered 1,200 in southern Israel, mostly civilians, and kidnapped 253 into the Gaza Strip.

Over the past weeks, videos have emerged intermittently documenting other apparent anti-Hamas rallies in the Strip, including one last Friday, when riots broke out at the Rafah Crossing to Egypt, after a Palestinian teen was shot dead by Hamas police as he tried to grab items from a humanitarian aid truck.

Most of the displaced Palestinians in Rafah — more than half of Gaza’s population — have been sheltering in sprawling makeshift encampments near the Egyptian border amid a spiraling humanitarian crisis.

Since the beginning of the war, aid groups have charged that they are not receiving enough supplies to meet the demands of Gazans in the embattled enclave. Israel has claimed UN agencies are failing to keep up with the goods transfers.

Last week, Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians COGAT posted photos on X of what it said was “the content of 500 trucks of humanitarian aid on the Gazan side of Kerem Shalom, AFTER Israeli inspection, waiting to be picked up and distributed by UN organizations.”

Various video clips circulated after Israel launched the war against Hamas in October have shown gunmen from the group confiscating trucks carrying aid for civilians. Reports indicate that some of the aid is sold by Hamas members on the black market at highly inflated prices.

Meanwhile, in northern Gaza, the UN’s food agency said on Tuesday that it had paused aid deliveries to the area after convoys of trucks faced gunfire and looting.

The World Food Program (WFP) had resumed deliveries only two days prior after a three-week suspension but its convoy “faced complete chaos and violence due to the collapse of civil order” and its teams reported witnessing “unprecedented levels of desperation,” it said.

In another video from late January, a Gazan man addressed Israeli soldiers in Hebrew and lashed out at the terror group’s leadership for abandoning Gazan civilians and living a life of luxury abroad. “We have nothing to do with all of this. It was Sinwar and Haniyeh,” the man shouted. “Haniyeh is at a restaurant in Turkey, and Sinwar is under the ground, eating meat – while we are here, eating bullets to the head.”

Amid the devastation, is unclear whether Sinwar is still running Hamas on the ground in Gaza. He was reportedly out of contact with the terror group’s leadership abroad since the end of January, but Kan news on Tuesday quoted Israeli officials involved in negotiations saying that they had received messages from Sinwar’s entourage relayed by foreign mediators.

Yahya Sinwar (C), Hamas’s Gaza Strip chief, waves to supporters in Gaza City, on April 14, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

On Sunday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that Hamas’s leadership abroad was looking to replace Sinwar. On Tuesday, Channel 12 quoted officials from an Arab country close to Hamas saying that the terror leader was suffering from complications of pneumonia.

The Arab officials reportedly pressured the terror group to lay down its arms, since it has “achieved nothing,” and relayed Hamas’s own admission that “its military apparatus has disintegrated.”

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