Photo Credit: Majdi Fathi/TPS
Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar at Hamas post-war rally, May 25, 2021

A source in the Gaza Strip has told TPS that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar has been instructed by the organization’s leadership not to appear in public, due to fears of Israeli attempts to eliminate him.

According to the source, Sinwar has not been seen in public in recent days due to the fear that Israel will try to assassinate him, and after Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that “the obstacle to the prosperity and development of the Strip is Hamas led by Sinwar.”

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The source added that there is also tension between Islamic Jihad and Hamas because the Islamic Jihad is trying to drag Hamas into a broader confrontation with Israel. He said that on the day the Egyptian intelligence minister visited Israel on August 18, Hamas located four rockets that were ready to be fired at Israel and dismantled them.

The source said that relations between Egypt and Hamas have deteriorated significantly in recent days, mainly following Hamas’ promise not to turn the rally held last Saturday into a violent event, a protest that turned into one of the most violent incidents on the border in months, in which an IDF soldier was critically injured, after Hamas forces gave the green light for the riots.

According to the source, the Egyptians told the Hamas leadership that its behavior did not help the Egyptian effort to mediate with Israel and harmed the chances of rehabilitating the Gaza Strip, adding that Israel was close to losing its patience. The Egyptians added that they support the Israeli position and see Hamas as the one to blame for any possible deterioration.

However, Egypt has agreed to reopen the Rafah crossing after Hamas demonstrated control of the demonstration that took place last Wednesday in the Khan Yunis area.

The source said that Hamas has recently lost large sums of money due to the fact that the Qatari funds, which is $7 million a month, have not reached its people, as was the practice until four months ago.

Recently, the transfer of funds to Hamas has also been greatly reduced due to operations to thwart the transfer of terrorist funds, and its revenues have dropped significantly, which may explain Hamas’ threats to embark on another round of escalation with Israel. However, the source added that Hamas is now interested in expanding the movement of goods through the Rafah crossing from Egypt because the taxes on these goods constitute significant compensation, in its eyes, for the loss of the Qatari money for its officials.

He added that Hamas is concerned that the recently agreed-upon mechanism for transferring funds from Qatar through the UN will change next year, and then the funds will be under the supervision of the Palestinian Authority.

Sources in the Gaza Strip reiterate that Hamas is demanding a return to the situation that existed on May 9, on the eve of Operation Guardian of the Walls, as Hamas has also been criticized by Arab media recently for losing much of the relief that Israel has given to the Gaza Strip, along with the high price that the residents of the Gaza Strip have had to pay.

The pressure on Hamas is also increasing because plans to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip are not even in sight.

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Baruch reports on Arab affairs for TPS.