‘What is Hamas waiting for?’: Palestinians in Gaza beg terror group to take truce deal

In rare criticism, Gazans slam Hamas leaders in Qatar, ‘sleeping comfortably, eating and drinking’, say terror group doesn’t care about ‘ending suffering of the Palestinian people’

Children queue with pots to receive food aid from a kitchen at the Abu Zeitun school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, June 13, 2024. (Omar Al-Qattaa/AFP)
Children queue with pots to receive food aid from a kitchen at the Abu Zeitun school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, June 13, 2024. (Omar Al-Qattaa/AFP)

In a rare reproach of Hamas from within Gaza, some Palestinians have voiced criticism of the terror group for failing to bring an end to the war with Israel that has devastated their lives since October 7.

Hamas has “led the Palestinian people into a war of annihilation,” said Umm Ala, 67, who has been displaced twice during more than eight months of war between Hamas and Israel.

“If the Hamas leaders were interested in ending this war and ending the suffering of the Palestinian people, they would have agreed [to a deal],” added Umm Ala, who has now sought refuge in Khan Younis, the main city in the southern Gaza Strip.

Apart from a one-week truce in November, which saw the release of more than 105 civilian hostages from captivity in Gaza and 240 Palestinian security prisoners from Israeli jails, several attempts at forging a new ceasefire have failed.

Mediators from the United States, Egypt and Qatar are once again engaged in negotiations with Israel and Hamas to try to finalize a hostage release and ceasefire deal.

Some Gazans, who have lived in a climate of fear and restrictions since Hamas seized power in the territory in 2007, blame the Iran-backed terror group for the vast destruction caused by the war.

Hamas has made a “mockery of us, our pain and the destruction of our lives,” said Abu Eyad, 55, who lives in north Gaza.

Palestinians collect water near buildings destroyed in Israeli strikes on Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on June 11, 2024. (Eyad Baba/AFP)

Abu Eyad, whose three children live with different relatives at separate locations, took aim at the terror group’s politburo leaders hosted by Qatar, including Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, since 2012, saying they were “sleeping comfortably, eating and drinking.”

“Have you ever tried to actually live our lives today?” Eyad asked. “Did you know that many times we don’t find any food at all?”

The war in Gaza erupted after Hamas’s October 7 attack, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel by land, air and sea, killing some 1,200 people and seizing 251 hostages, mostly civilians.

Vowing to destroy the terror group and free the hostages, Israel launched a wide-scale military attack that the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says has left more than 36,000 people in the Strip killed or presumed dead in the fighting so far. Of these, some 24,000 fatalities have been identified at hospitals or through self-reporting by families, with the rest of the figure based on Hamas “media sources.”

The tolls, which cannot be verified, include some 15,000 terror operatives Israel says it has killed in battle.

Displaced Palestinians walk past destroyed buildings in Bureij camp in the central Gaza Strip on June 12, 2024. (Eyad Baba/AFP)

‘We are tired, we are dead’

Washington is currently engaged in a new push for a deal, outlined by US President Joe Biden himself on May 31, but has yet to secure an agreement.

Hamas issued a response to the latest proposal on Wednesday, seeking to change the terms by pushing forward a full Israeli military withdrawal from Gaza into the initial stages of a phased implementation, as well as insisting that it be a clear end to the war, a condition Jerusalem has repeatedly rejected.

“We are tired, we are dead, we are destroyed and our tragedies are countless,” said Abu Shaker, 35.

“What are you waiting for?” he asked, addressing the terror group. “What do you want? The war must end at any cost. We cannot bear it any longer.”

Despite such criticism, a survey in both Gaza and the West Bank has shown Hamas to be the most popular political force in the territories with 40 percent preference, followed by 20% for Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.

Supporters of the Hamas terror group rally in Hebron, West Bank, December 1, 2023. (Wisam Haslmaoun/Flash90)

The poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research released on Wednesday also said the Palestinian public continues to support the October 7 attack, 73% in the West Bank and 57% in Gaza, albeit with a slight decline, compared to 71% in both territories three months ago.

At the beginning of May, Hamas claimed to accept what it said was an Egyptian and Qatari ceasefire and hostage release proposal, prompting spontaneous celebrations in Gaza, but Israeli officials said the terror group’s terms did not meet Jerusalem’s essential requirements and the US said Hamas had, in fact, submitted a counterproposal. The survey showed that two-thirds of those asked had supported Hamas’s decision at the time and expected a halt in fighting within days — only to be disappointed.

Palestinians celebrate in the streets following Hamas’s announcement that it accepted a ceasefire proposal, in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip on May 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Now the Gazans AFP spoke to are desperate, and all they want is an end to the conflict.

Umm Shadi, 50, called for Hamas to “end the war immediately without seeking to control and rule Gaza.”

“What have we gained from this war except killing, destruction, extermination and starvation?” she asked.

“Every day the war on Gaza increases, our pain and the pain of the people increases. What is Hamas waiting for?”

A Palestinian woman watches as smoke billows following an Israeli strike south of Gaza City, in the town of al-Zawaida in the central Gaza Strip, on June 11, 2024. (Eyad Baba/AFP)

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