Here's something you probably haven't heard of: the protest that never really came to be, nipped in the bud, killed before it was even born. On July 29, 20 Palestinians in Gaza were reportedly executed by Hamas for treason, making a total of over 30 in two days. If you're wondering what "treason" means -- it means they protested against Hamas because of the destruction Hamas' repeated refusal for ceasefire was causing. Hamas calls it treason, but daring to speak and protest is the real reason.
Real data as to public opinion in Gaza is scarce. Still, there are a few hints of true voices coming out from the dark. An anonymous poll taken in Gaza just before Hamas started firing rockets into Israel, was aired by the Washington Institute on July 15th. It shows that the people of Gaza are worn out, sick of the Hamas brutal regime. More than 70% said they support a nonviolent resistance, and think Hamas should maintain a ceasefire with Israel. When asked who in their opinion should lead Gaza, a solid majority favored Abbas and PLO, and only 15% named Hamas leaders, Mashaal and Haniyeh. In this piece, a Palestinian journalist, who preferred to stay anonymous for obvious reasons, said the only reason Hamas is still in charge is because of its iron fist and ruthless military regime.
Another research by Orit Perlov for the INSS that was aired last week, set out to find the Palestinian voices that seep through the social networks. Her findings were very similar to the Washington Institute's, and surprised many, Israelis as well. According to her study, the Gazans do not want the Hamas leadership, but feel protesting won't get them anywhere after seeing where it's gotten protesters in Syria, Iran, Bahrain and Iraq. The Gazans want to survive, and it seems that protesters everywhere simply end up getting shot.
Another voice that's been heard lately belongs to the Green Prince, Son of Hamas - the New York Times bestseller written by the son of one of Hamas' co-founders. Mosab Hassan Yousef could not bear to continue taking part in the fanatic brutality, destruction and lies. He was disowned by his family, exiled to the west, threatened by savages and lost everything he had. Years later he wrote a book in which he tells the truth about Hamas' destructive goals, and its merciless system which exploits Palestinians for its leaders' selfish needs, while feeding Palestinian children from the age of 5 with the twisted ideology that worships death.
But these voices are few, especially during these horrific days in Gaza. Right now, the voices coming out of Gaza are filtered by Hamas. One can assume the story of the execution, although tweeted by some, was not voiced by too much media for lack of ability to get confirmation. Hamas, a terror organization which uses torture and ruthless violence not only against Israel but against its own people, doesn't have a big moral problem about lying or keeping information from the international press. And what about the Palestinians? They gravely understand what happens to those who think it's wise to protest.
It's easy to see that the Palestinian anguish is only directed at Israel, never at Hamas, although Hamas is the official regime in Gaza. Hamas is the one calling the shots, refusing ceasefires and promising to fight to the death, although its leader doesn't fight. He's comfortably hiding with his family in Qatar, sacrificing Palestinian blood from a fancy hotel.
The Gazans are suffering beyond comprehension, but Hamas is counting on their photos to regain the legitimacy it has nearly lost completely in the Arab world. It only allows the Palestinians to speak of the Israeli occupation as their problem, relying on the fact that people tend to forget that Gaza has not been occupied by Israel since 2005. Gazans have been free from Israeli occupation for nine years, but as long as Hamas remains in control and calls the shots, they will be very far from being peaceful or free.