Despite Potential Violent Backlash, Large Crowd Speaks Out Against Hamas By Protesting In Gaza


Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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Scores of Gazans took to the streets of the city of Khan Yunis to call on the leader of Hamas to make a ceasefire with Israel, a video posted on Twitter appeared to show.

The video appears to show a large stream of demonstrators calling for an end to the death and destruction by both sides of the conflict. One person in the crowd appears to be carrying a white flag. (RELATED: Mayor Who Can’t Get a Ceasefire In Own City Calls For One Between Israel And Hamas)

“The people want a ceasefire! Netanyahu and Sinwar, we want a ceasefire. Enough with war and enough with destruction,” the protesters can be heard chanting in Arabic, according to a translation provided by Kann News in Hebrew.

Yahya Sinwar is the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip since 2017 and one of the main orchestrators of the Oct. 7 massacre in southern Israel that led to the current war between Israel and Hamas, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. The publication of the video of this protest occurred a day after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released a video of a similar, albeit smaller “spontaneous demonstration” in Dir al-Balah that called for Hamas to release the hostages it took in exchange for an end to the war, i24 News reported.

Protests that are in any way critical of Hamas are rare in the Gaza Strip. While calls for a ceasefire are common in the Gaza Strip, they are typically directed solely at Israel, according to The Times of Israel. This protest is atypical given that it was also directed at Hamas. The demonstration is all the more incredible given that it is occurring in a hotly contested city in the Gaza Strip that is an active war-zone between the IDF and Hamas fighters. It has been speculated that Sinwar is hiding out in a tunnel complex under Khan Yunis, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Freedom of expression is not protected in Hamas-ruled Gaza. “Hamas generally governs in an authoritarian manner, actively suppressing criticism of its rule,” Freedom House, a human rights NGO, wrote in its 2023 report. Hamas systematically represses such criticism, at times violently, according to the NGO.