Are Hamas’s Days in Gaza Numbered?
Much of the world’s coverage of the Middle East is focused on the anti-government protests in Israel. But what some may not realize is that Israel’s neighbor to the southwest is also seeing major unrest. Twice last week, relatively large-scale protests took place in Gaza, the Palestinian exclave on the Mediterranean ruled by terror group Hamas. While on a much smaller scale than the Israeli protests, these rare pushbacks against Hamas could signal a changing attitude on the streets.
On July 30 and August 4, thousands protested under the slogan “We Want to Live.” The reasons for the protests are power outages and Gaza’s deplorable economic conditions. The United Nations estimates Gaza’s poverty rate in 2022 stood at 65 percent. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics estimates youth unemployment rate to be almost 74 percent.
Rami Herzallah, a “We Want to Live” organizer, told media: “Our demands are so basic. We have the right to live in dignity, the right to learn for everyone, the right to travel without paying for the costly intelligence coordination, the right to work, to have [enough] electricity, and the right to freedom of speech.”
Protesters shouted, “Hamas leave us be,” and “The people want the fall of the regime.” Some burned Hamas flags. Some even called for complete regime change. Some shouted, “Abbas and Haniyeh, the people are the victims.” Ismail Haniyeh is the leader of Hamas. Mahmoud Abbas is the president of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, from the (relatively) more moderate Fatah party. That some want both leaders gone suggests many Gazans want a complete reset of Palestinian politics.
Compared to the protests in neighboring Israel, those in Gaza may seem minor. Israel saw tens if not hundreds of thousands take to the streets for months. There weren’t nearly as many people on the streets in Gaza, and Hamas’s police dispersed the gatherings rapidly. But there is a reason the protests appeared more “minor.”
Hamas is a radical Islamist regime with a reputation for punishing critics severely. People stand up against Hamas at their own peril. The last time protests like these happened was in 2019. Many journalists trying to cover the protests have been attacked and detained.
Despite their small size, the protests are a big deal for Gazan society. It appears Gaza’s economic crisis is becoming unbearable for enough people. But Hamas isn’t only getting pressure from people on the street. There are signs of political tensions as well.
On July 18, Hamas-controlled police stormed al-Awda Mosque in Rafah, a city on the Egyptian border. They arrested Sheikh Yahya Mansour. Mansour claimed Hamas “wanted to kill me.” He said they “beat me with chairs and objects that were in the mosque, and I miraculously survived.” His hand was broken in the raid.
Mansour is a religious leader associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad (pij), a rival Islamist organization. pij and Hamas compete for influence but also cooperate in wars against Israel. The two fought a war together against Israel in 2021. Since then, pij has had its own skirmishes against Israel without Hamas.
But even during relative “peacetime,” the two groups cooperate through the “Joint Operations Room,” a collaborative military strategy forum. Both Hamas and pij also get millions of dollars-worth of funding from Iran. Both groups have the same boss and the same enemy. pij’s existence also has a practical use for Hamas. When war between pij and Israel breaks out, Israel still gets attacked without Hamas using any of its resources, and Hamas gets none of the blame in the media.
Hamas has every reason to keep pij afloat—unless pij is becoming a political threat. Anonymous Gazan sources told Tazpit Press Service that the Rafah raid was part of a broader strategy for Hamas to take control of pij within Gaza.
pij’s reaction to the raid suggests it is getting fed up with Hamas’s rule: “Stealing, drug trafficking, hoarding electricity and all the crises in Gaza are not enough for [Hamas]. They also want to kill the military arm of the Islamic Jihad that was on the battlefield for three rounds with the [claimed Israeli] occupation.”
As people protest Hamas for the first time in years, a terror group with a formidable military arsenal is blaming Hamas for “all the crises in Gaza.” This is not good news for Hamas.
Hamas’s main sponsor, Iran, is on the other side of the Middle East. While Iran can provide support through smuggler’s routes and other roundabout methods, if Gaza were to break out in open rebellion, the on-the-ground support Iran could offer would be very limited. And both Israel and Egypt, who have imposed strict blockades against Gaza, have huge incentive to prod a Hamas ousting in the event of major unrest.
If the current flareups turn into Gaza’s own “Arab Spring,” Hamas’s days in government could be very numbered.
Bible prophecy suggests such a regime change could happen. A prophecy in Daniel 11:40-43 is about an end-time “king of the north” and a “king of the south” clashing in a major war. These represent two power blocs forming in our day. The context of the rest of the chapter shows the king of the north to be a rising European power. (See here for more information.) For decades, the Trumpet has identified the king of the south as a radical Islamist bloc, led by Iran.
Verses 42-43 show Iran’s allies in this coming clash will include countries like Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia. Hamas-led Gaza is an ally of Iran today. But Gaza is absent from the king of the south prophecy.
Another prophecy explains why. Psalm 83:1-8 shows which Middle Eastern regions will be allied against Iran. Edom, the Ishmaelites, Moab, the Hagarenes, Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, the Philistines and Tyre are listed in this end-time alliance. Like in Daniel 11, the king of the north is also mentioned here—but under the prophetic name Assur. (See here for more information.)
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in his free booklet The King of the South:
You must know who the modern descendants of these peoples are to understand just how timely and relevant this prophecy is. Here are the modern names of these nations, as taught at Ambassador College under Herbert W. Armstrong: The Ishmaelites are Saudi Arabia; Moab and Ammon both refer to Jordan; the Hagarenes anciently dwelled in the land known as Syria today; the Philistines are the modern Palestinian Arabs; Gebal and Tyre are Lebanon. …
One people listed here that lies outside the region is Assur. At one time, this was the capital of Assyria, which is the term that biblical prophecy uses for modern-day Germany. Germany is part of this alliance and is, in fact, the power behind it!
Anciently, the Philistines dwelled in the region that is Gaza today. Gaza City was one of the most important Philistine city-states. Gaza today, while in diplomatic limbo, runs itself as a de facto state.
Mr. Flurry continues:
The Philistines—the Palestinians of Gaza and even those in the West Bank—will shift their alliance to Germany as well.
Iran has led Hezbollah and the Palestinians in their terrorist activities for years. They all share some common enemies—especially America and Israel. But in some religious and political aspects, their views differ; this could cause Hezbollah and the Palestinians to ally themselves with Germany. There may soon be some significant power shifts in Gaza.
Time will tell if a revolution will happen in Gaza. But until then, to understand what Bible prophecy has to say about Palestinian and Middle Eastern news, please request a free copy of The King of the South.