Hamas calls for Palestinian ‘united resistance’ amid Israeli blockade

By Joan Mas Autonell

Gaza, Aug 1 (EFE).- Gaza has hit “rock bottom” amid economic and energy crises from which “there will be no way out until the Israeli blockade on the Strip ends”, Hamas spokesman, Hazem Qasem, tells Efe in an interview.

As the lights flicker on and off due to several power cuts, Qasem warns from his Gaza office that “the blockade, which has lasted 17 years, generated many problems and deepened them further.”


Rising discontent in Gaza fuelled mass protests on Sunday as thousands of people flooded the streets to denounce their poor living conditions.

The rally was an unusual show of dissent in the Strip, where Hamas has been accused of clamping down on past protest movements that were critical of its management.

The recent mobilizations – which ran from north to south of the enclave – were called for by the “We Want to Live” campaign, the same collective that spurred similar protests in 2019, which were quashed by Hamas.

“Where are the electricity and gas?” protestors chanted Sunday until the police, who carried out several arrests, dispersed the demonstration.


The Hamas spokesman says “people are increasingly exhausted” and warns that “the current crisis could lead to an explosion” in Gaza, which is home to some 2.3 million residents that depend on one power plant and where the authorities cannot pay full salaries to civil servants.

“Citizens have access to electricity supply for five hours a day or less,” an even lower rate than in previous periods of scarcity and crisis when an average of eight hours of power were available.

The limited access to electricity further aggravates Gaza’s economic and industrial output which is already severely hampered by a blockade that has led to a severe lack of basic commodities.

Global inflation and an “increase in the cost of imported goods, especially from Egypt” has plunged Gaza’s residents deeper into poverty.

Amid a chronic crisis of unemployment which affects almost 50% of the population and with 80 % of Gazans dependent on international aid, “the government’s capacity to collect revenue and cover basic expenses is decreasing”, Qasem adds.

Efe also spoke to sources in Gaza who denounced a lack of transparency and suspicions of corrupt practices among the local authorities.

But, according to Qasem, the root problem of the hardship is Israel’s blockade, which has been in place since 2007 when Hamas took power from the Palestinian National Authority.

The PNA governs parts of the West Bank and is dominated by the secular Fatah party, a group that the Islamist Hamas movement has been at loggerheads with ever since.

“The people want an end to the division,” protesters in Gaza also chanted on Sunday. They have grown tired of the rivalry between the two main Palestinian factions.


This week PNA President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh again met in Egypt to discuss reconciliation.

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