GAZA, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Opponents to the Islamic Hamas movement in Gaza argue on the retreat of its participation in popular activities, saying it is a sign of deterioration of its popular support, just five years after the movement violently seized control of the enclave.
They said Hamas isn't interested anymore, as it used to do in the past, in joining popular activities on occasions during the year, because its leaders are afraid that its supporters won't largely join these activities due to ongoing humanitarian crisis the Gazans are passing through.
While the efforts to achieve Palestinian reconciliation and hold new elections are still obstructed due to deep disputes between Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party, opponents of Hamas believe that the popular support of Hamas in the Gaza Strip is not as big as it used to be in the past.
A senior leader of a opposition faction in Gaza told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that "Hamas is loosing popular support."
Jamil Mezher, member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, told Xinhua that the retreat in Hamas popularity "has become very much obvious in Gaza due to Hamas strategy based on appropriation and repression."
"Poverty, unemployment and despair of thousands of graduated students who are not able to find jobs, as well as Hamas monopoly of the authority and debarment of people who don't believe in Hamas ideology are behind its loose of popularity," said Mezher.
Over the past years, bloody incidents frequently occurred and the Gazans are always pay the highest price, such as the tight Israeli blockade, the Israeli operation "Cast Lead" and the ongoing fuel shortage and electricity crisis, said the right groups.
Walid al-Mudallal, an academic at the Islamic University of Gaza, said that Hamas popularity has retreated due to the humanitarian crisis and its failure to solve it. However, he said that Hamas "still an organized movement and gains a large popularity."
Salah al-Bardaweel, a member of Hamas politburo, told Xinhua that his movement is still the No.1 movement that earns the largest popularity "despite the hard conditions it had passed through during its five-year rule of the Gaza Strip."
Talal Oukal, a Gaza-based political analyst, said that all what had been done over the past five years to overcome internal division "are all failed," adding that "what security means, if people are still living under tight blockade, blackmail and poverty."
Khalil Shahin, another political analyst based in West Bank, told Xinhua that the ongoing crisis in Gaza under Hamas rule had created tough economical situation amid a restriction of popular freedom," adding that "the people in Gaza hold Hamas responsible for their hard living conditions."
So far, there are no signs of Hamas fate in Gaza as efforts to implement the reconciliation agreements are obstructed to end the division between the Gaza Strip ruled by Hamas and the West Bank ruled by Abbas and the Palestinian authority.
Analysts doubted that the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas would one day become true. Oukal said that Hamas is bargaining on the regional development in the Arab world, and still waits for massive Arab support to keep ruling the Gaza Strip.