The damage not done by 11 years of wars, economic siege and the brutal regime of Hamas, was done with the dollars from Qatar. Instead of being a sigh of relief, the money consumed Gaza from the inside like acid.
That is because the main if not the sole beneficiaries of the Qatari cash are Hamas members and those close to the organization. For the rest of the population in Gaza, a year after the campaign to lift the siege, life is exactly the same.
When your neighbor, a Hamas member, has just returned home with $300 or $600 from the Qataris, this is the moment when your anger begins to be directed at your leadership, which, in the case of Gaza, means Hamas.
It is too early to know where the protests against Hamas will lead the people of Gaza. It could be that the weather, the general fatigue and the violent suppression of the demonstrations will take their toll on the demonstrators and put an end to the protests. Nethertheless, these demonstrations make up the most significant uprising against the organization since it seized power in Gaza in 2007.
The slogan is simple: "We want to live." Living in the sense of earning a living, of being able to buy food. The sloagn's accompanying logo is a clenched fist — or sometimes just bread.
Hamas accuses Fatah and the Palestinian Authority of running the protests from Ramallah by remote control, and reminding the protesters that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has significantly cut money transfers to Gaza, is largely responsible for their situation.
That maybe true, but it is also true that the sentiment against Hamas is growing. Unlike in recent years, more people in Gaza have allowed themselves to protest on social media against Hamas. The rocket fire on Thursday, therefore, was greeted by some in Gaza with a cynical Israeli-style reaction, namely, that Hamas was trying to draw attention from its woes by giving the Israelis something to worry about.
In Israel, they decided to accept Hamas' explanation for the mistake that led to the shooting, partly because it worked for them too. We are still ready to go far to avoid a military operation in Gaza, and rightly so.
Would the Hamas member who pushed the button not have known what he was doing? Or did he want to convey a message? His motive should be the least important question for Israel, because even if Hamas is interested in a violent round of several days of fighting - be it to divert attention from internal criticism, or because they are not satisfied with the terms of the arrangement for calm that Israel is proposing, or because the timing on the eve of elections in Israel looks good to them – none of these reasons mean Jerusalem has to align itself with the aims of Hamas by going into Gaza.
However, we are approaching the end of the month, when the Palestinians will mark Land Day and the one year anniversary of the so-called marches of return, without significant agreement on calm, with tensions rising, and with them the potential for additional mistakes by Hamas militants on duty. Moreover, if the demonstrations in Gaza continue, Israel will find it difficult to give Hamas what will be perceived by the terror group as a lifeline.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel next week to the AIPAC conference in Washginton, DC, and meet with Trump. This will be the climax of his election campaign, and if no agreements are reached by then, he may find himself share the screen with live broadcasts of chaos in Gaza.