Analysis: In private, Palestinian leadership opposes Gaza protests

Despite the Palestinian leadership’s public expressions of solidarity with thousands of Gazan protesters, it privately stands in opposition to the ongoing demonstrations.


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a news conference following the extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey. (photo credit: REUTERS/OSMAN ORSAL)

The Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership has taken a public stance in support of Palestinians who have been protesting for more than two weeks on the Gazan side of the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian leadership, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, has condemned Israel for shooting dead 32 Gazans and has pushed for a UN Security Council resolution criticizing the Israeli army’s use of force against them.

However, despite the Palestinian leadership’s public expressions of solidarity with thousands of Gazan protesters, it privately stands in opposition to the ongoing demonstrations.

The protests, which have been dubbed “the Great March of Return” and have received major backing from Hamas, started in the border region between Israel and Gaza on March 30 and are slated to last until May 15.

While the IDF has described the protests as “violent riots,” asserting protesters have thrown Molotov cocktails and rocks at its security forces, as well as opened fire on them and tried to enter Israel’s territory, several international and local human rights groups have accused the Israeli military of using excessive force against “unarmed protesters.”

“The [Palestinian leadership] does not like the protests in Gaza because they feel that Hamas is taking advantage of them for their political gain,” Mohammed Daraghmeh, a West Bank-based Palestinian journalist, told The Jerusalem Post in a phone call.

“The protests are actually embarrassing for them because Hamas and the people in Gaza are taking the show and putting themselves on the local, regional and international agenda, while they are doing nothing in the West Bank.”...

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