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Growing Criticism of Hamas Emerges in Gaza Amid Ongoing Conflict

In a video shared on social media, a visibly distraught man denounced Hamas leadership saying “I am an academic doctor,” he declares. “I had a good life, but we have a filthy [Hamas] leadership. They got used to our bloodshed, may God curse them! They are scum!”

The video, unimaginable before the Gaza war, was filmed outside a hospital overwhelmed with hundreds of Palestinian casualties after an Israeli operation to free hostages from central Gaza last month. As the video ends, he turns to the crowd. “I’m one of you,” he says, “but you are a cowardly people. We could have avoided this attack!”

The video went viral and is not an isolated case. Open criticism of Hamas has been increasing in Gaza, both on the streets and online. Some have publicly condemned Hamas for hiding hostages in apartments near a busy marketplace or for firing rockets from civilian areas.

Hamas faces growing public dissent as Gaza war erodes support

Residents have repeatedly  cursed against the Hamas leadership in markets. Some drivers of donkey carts have even nicknamed their animals after the Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, urging the donkeys forward with shouts of “Yallah, Sinwar!”

“People say things like, ‘Hamas has destroyed us’ or even call on God to take their lives,” one man said. “They ask what the October 7 attacks were for—some say they were a gift to Israel.” Some are even urging their leaders to agree to a ceasefire with Israel.

Despite this, there are still those in Gaza fiercely loyal to Hamas. After years of repressive control, it’s difficult to gauge how much support the group is losing or how far existing opponents feel more able to speak their minds. However, even some on the group’s payroll are wavering.

One senior Hamas government employee said that the Hamas attacks were “a crazy, uncalculated leap.”  “I know from my work with the Hamas government that it prepared well for the attack militarily, but it neglected the home front,” he said. “They did not build any safe shelters for people, they did not reserve enough food, fuel, and medical supplies. If my family and I survive this war, I will leave Gaza at the first chance I get.”

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