In Gaza, Surge of Support for Hamas Starts to Fade
Strung across chaotic streets and through mazes of yard-wide alleys, the iconic green flags of the Islamic Resistance Movement, better known as Hamas, festoon the gray acres of cement-block buildings.
Here in the streets where Hamas was born a quarter-century ago, the public trappings of ascendant Islamist power are impossible to miss.
After prayers, men old enough to remember the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which began a decades-long occupation of Gaza, claim Hamas has finally won a fight with Israel and should now march on Tel Aviv.
But as the nervous ecstasy of conflict gives way to a grim status quo, there are already signs, even here, to suggest that any power Hamas has derived from its recent conflict with Israel is fading. The change in sentiment is coming gradually, along generational and gender lines, and suggests a limit to any political benefits for Hamas gained through armed conflict.
As older men speak of an imminent return to lost family land inside Israel, many younger men, who grew up in the bitter decades after the first Palestinian uprising, ask what precisely Hamas accomplished during the eight-day confrontation.
So, too, do some of this refugee camp’s women.
“What kind of victory?” asked Um Ram Abu Rokba, covered in pious, Islamic-style dress as she walked home from afternoon prayer. “They are lying to the people, it is a kind of blackmail.”