Gaza descends into chaos as Hamas staggers

December 26, 2023 by Baruch Yedid - TPS
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Two incidents caught on video and circulating on social media on Sunday reflect how much Hamas has lost its grip on power in the Strip.

Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza, in the afterm Iath of an Israeli air strike on Hamas positions, on Dec. 24, 2023. Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS

In Khan Yunis, Hamas gunmen fired on hungry Palestinians trying to loot a truck delivering food. A similar scene played out near a Hamas police station in Rafah, except it ended in tragedy as a teenage boy was killed by the gunfire.

One Palestinian from the Al Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza who evacuated to Rafah in the south told the Tazpit Press Service, “Hamas’s rule also collapsed in the southern Gaza Strip and today there is no government agency that distributes food in the southern Gaza Strip.”

According to reports from the Strip, there is also no one to collect the bodies from the streets and they are buried in mass graves, such as the one in the Jabaliya market.

“The systems of the police and the Ministry of the Interior collapsed already in the first stages,” one Gaza resident told TPS.

Dozens of street kitchens have sprung up and volunteers are distributing food to children and families. But in some cases, these kitchens shut down if they do not receive cooking gas delivered through the Rafah crossing.

According to UN estimates, there are 1.9 million displaced Palestinians, of whom approximately one million live in temporary encampments in an area of southern Gaza between Khan Yunis and Rafah. Most live in encampments hastily built by hand, while a lucky few Palestinians found space in camps established by the UN and Qatar.

Moreover, roughly 70% of all the homes in northern Gaza have been destroyed.

Those numbers continue to raise alarm bells in Egypt, which recently reiterated that it considers the mass migration of Palestinians into the Sinai to be a security threat. TPS recently reported that Hamas is trying to leverage the burgeoning number of refugees in Rafah to drag Egypt into conflict with Israel. Hamas official Osama Hamdan confirmed as much when he said in mid-December that “resistance bases will be established on the border line with Egypt.”

Thus, in recent days Egypt has begun to increase its forces along the Gaza border, especially near the Rafah border crossing, according to a series of Arab reports.

An Egyptian official told us TPS, “Egypt is alert to the possibility that Hamas will blow up the Rafah crossing or that a mass event will take place near it to bring about the migration of Gazans to Sinai.”

The source added that “Hamas hopes that by doing so, it will also bring about a significant conflict between Israel and Egypt.”

At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on Oct. 7. The number of men, women, children, soldiers and foreigners held captive in Gaza by Hamas is now believed to be 129. Other people remain unaccounted for as Israeli authorities continue to identify bodies and search for human remains.

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