BY EMET REPORT
A Facebook page created by anonymous people is calling on Palestinians to take part in mass protest against Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Friday.
The page, titled Honor Revolution (Thauret al-Karama in Arabic), urges Gazans to take to the street after Muslim Friday prayers to topple the de-facto government of the Islamist movement. “The young people of the beloved Gaza Strip will carry out a grand act that will change the face of history,” a message posted on the page reads. “We derived our inspiration from the revolutions in green Tunisia and Egypt of the pharaohs, which joined the struggle for freedom,” it says. By Wednesday afternoon, 2,338 people had joined it by clicking “like.”
The group’s stated aim is to end the split between Gaza and the West Bank, which came about when Hamas seized sole control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. Eighteen months prior to that Hamas won parliamentary elections, which sparked a fierce power struggle with President Mahmoud Abbas and his secular Fatah party.
The Facebook page, in Arabic only, appealed to the Hamas security forces not to use violence against the demonstrators. “We will go out to end the split and gain back our national unity in a peaceful way. Our message to you: Don’t cover your hands with our pure blood,” the page said. “Don’t obey your masters, the owners of the villas, the apartments, the lands, the cars and the jeeps.”
The group said the protests throughout Gaza would be a “pure popular revolution” of all political affiliations. “It is the revolution of the mosques, the churches, the factories, the universities, the schools, the unemployed and the internet cafes,” it declared, although Fatah supporters were said to be among the internet users who launched the initiative.
Observers in Gaza and the West Bank said they were unsure whether the Facebook call would be able to mobilize huge numbers of protesters. They said Gazans were afraid of Hamas’ security apparatus, which has acted harshly against critics.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday said Hamas authorities in Gaza quashed a solidarity demonstration with Egypt last week. The international watchdog said police arbitrarily arrested six women and threatened to arrest another 20 people as soon as they arrived at the Park of the Unknown Soldier in Gaza City.
HRW said Abbas’ Palestinian Authority police also used violence against peaceful demonstrators in the central West Bank city of Ramallah last week, by punching, kicking and detaining participants, as well as at least two journalists and a HRW research assistant.