In an unusual turn of events, hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets of the Gaza Strip on Thursday in order to protest the high cost of living in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave. Sources in the Strip believe Hamas might initiate a military confrontation with Israel in order to ensure the social-justice phenomenon doesn't expand in scope.
The demonstration started in a seemingly spontaneous manner—in Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza—and included a relatively small number of protesters, but over the course of the evening it gradually grew as more people began to join in.
The demonstrators apparently refrained from calling for the overthrow of the Hamas government, opting instead to focus on the rising cost of living in the blockaded Strip.
“The protest was started by just dozens of people in Jabalia and picked up the pace in the city of Deir al-Balah, but towards the late evening hours, the demonstrators began to disperse,” said a Palestinian source in Gaza. “Similar protests might develop in the coming days in other parts of Gaza. This protest is completely authentic,” the source added.
It remains unclear who’s leading the charge in these events and whether the Palestinian Authority—at odds with Hamas for driving the PA out of Gaza—had any hand in the unexpected protest.
The source added they don’t believe the Hamas leadership will be pressured by the protest. "Hamas is in complete control of the situation and understands how to deal with it,” said the source, adding that Hamas might initiate a confrontation with Israel in order to divert the attention of the general population if the protests spread.