On Saturday 17 March, hundreds of people in Gaza were picked off the streets and jailed by Hamas police as they used live fire into the air, clubs, metal rods, and pepper spray to disperse a growing wave of demonstrations.
The demonstrations were sparked by tax increases on basic goods imposed by the Hamas administration.
Hamas, a clerical-fascist movement, have claimed that the protests were “pushed from the outside”, “controlled by Israel and the PA intelligence”, and want to bring down the “Palestinian armed resistance.”
Muhammad Shehada (a Palestinian from Gaza currently working in Sweden), writing in the Israeli liberal newspaper Haaretz, reports the demonstrators stress that they also oppose the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority’s economic sanctions on Gaza, and Israel’s blockade.
Hamas has further denounced the demonstrators as suicidal, junkies, traitors and drug-addicts, and their “accomplices” in human rights organisations as pawns of outsiders.
As Shehada says, “Israel’s blockade, the PA’s sanctions and Hamas’ ruthless totalitarian rule all create a uniquely insufferable abyss where two million Gazans, the majority of whom are children, have been subject to unparalleled brutalities over the last 12 years with no way to escape or end their nightmare”.
The only way out is democratic self-determination for the Palestinians: a two-states settlement offering an authentically independent Palestinian state in contiguous territory,