Open criticism of Hamas is building in Gaza as Israel's deadly offensive rages on: 'May God curse them'

  • Gazans are becoming increasingly critical of Hamas as Israel's military campaign rages on.

  • Israel has launched air strikes and a ground offensive on Gaza following Hamas' October 7 attacks.

  • More than 38,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, according to Gaza's health ministry.

Gazans are growing increasingly critical of Hamas as Israel's deadly military campaign in the Gaza Strip continues.

Public criticism of Hamas — which took full control of Gaza in 2007 after ousting its rival political party, Fatah — had been relatively rare before the Gaza war.

Many Gazans also cheered the events of October 7 at the time, with people taking to the streets to celebrate what they saw as their occupier's humiliation.

But while those attacks on Israel, which killed around 1,200 people, increased Hamas' popularity in both Gaza and the West Bank, the majority of residents in both territories do not support the group, according to findings from a poll carried out by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.

Israel responded to the October 7 attacks with a relentless barrage of air strikes and a ground invasion of Gaza.

With the Palestinian death toll from the attacks now standing at more than 38,000, according to Gaza's health ministry, and many Gazans living in dire conditions, public dissent appears to be growing.

Yahya Sinwar
Yahya SinwarAhmed Zakot/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Daily affairs in the Gaza Strip are largely overseen by Yahya Sinwar, a former head of Hamas' military wing who has previously spent more than two decades incarcerated in Israel.

In a March survey by the West Bank-based Institute for Social and Economic Progress that focused on Gazans' feelings on Hamas' leadership, almost 77% of respondents said they opposed Sinwar.

"I pray every day for God to punish the one who brought us to this situation," Gaza resident Mohammed told the Financial Times in April. "I pray every day for the death of Sinwar."

Gazan residents also told the BBC that cursing Hamas' leaders had become common in the markets.

In one video seen by the BBC that was filmed outside a hospital filled with wounded Palestinians, a Gazan man covered in blood shouts: "I am an academic doctor. 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!"

"I'm one of you," he added, "but you are a cowardly people. We could have avoided this attack!"

"They should have predicted Israel's response and thought of what would happen to the 2.3mn Gazans who have nowhere safe to go," Gaza resident Nassim told the FT.

"They [Hamas] should have restricted themselves to military targets," he added.

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