In recent months, a Facebook page with 25,000 followers has appeared under the title of the Palestinian Tamarod Movement.
Tamarod (“rebellion” in Arabic) in Egypt collected more than 22 million signatures to oust Morsi. The Palestinian reimagining of this movement is creating a stir in the Gaza Strip by calling a day of protests against the Hamas government on 11 November.
Tamarod activists have boldly distributed a statement of intent directly to the homes of some Hamas leaders, taking to the streets in the early hours to avoid arrest. They have even emblazoned expressions of solidarity on the offices of the Maan News Agency and Al Arabiya, which were closed down by the government recently. They claim nearly 7,000 signatures on a similar petition to that used against Morsi.
Although attempting to downplay the significance of Tamarod in Gaza by dismissing it as “a movement on Facebook…nothing more than that”, Hamas security officials have begun questioning and arresting large numbers of activists and journalists, as well as politicians, about their involvement with and knowledge of Tamarod.
Hamas says Tamarod are pointing their frustrations in the wrong direction. Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah said on 21 August: “We are hearing some calling for rebellion... I support the rebellion, but a rebellion against occupation…this language should not be used amongst Palestinians. Do not embark on this dangerous path. It is a path which could have severe consequences on our unity”.
Threats to bring down Tamarod are rising in intensity as 11 November approaches. The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, circulated a photograph showing an armed member of the organisation along with the slogan “We prepare in silence, and Tamarod’s funeral tomorrow will come, 11/11 is our deadline”.
On 6 September Hamas held a news conference with a short video “confession” from an alleged Tamarod activist saying that they were receiving funding and support from Israel, Fatah, and intelligence services from across the Middle East, to execute a coup in Gaza in the next six months. Tamarod activists insist that the only funding they get comes directly from monthly contributions from members.
Abu Yamen of Tamarod says that plans for 11 November will continue despite the arrests and brutalisation of activists. He says: “People can no longer be silent facing this injustice, oppression and deteriorating economic situation. Every citizen will be a leader and will take a camera to record what will happen.
“The march will be a march of mobile phones”.