Wed, Feb 16, 2011 | The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Palestinians Celebrate Mubarak’s Resignation
Demonstrations in the Palestinian Authority and Gaza Strip
The Egyptian’s president’s resignation was jubilantly received in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Demonstrators marched in Ramallah holding placards expressing support for the Egyptian people and calling for the end of the so-called “Israeli occupation.” Hamas organized demonstrations throughout the Gaza Strip. After the Friday prayers candy was distributed in the mosques and guns were fired in the air to show joy.
Reactions of Senior Palestinian Figures
Nabil Shaath, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, said that the Palestinians “respect the wish of the Egyptian people for democracy.” He said that a united, democratic Egypt, younger than in the past, would be able to fully support the Palestinian people and its cause (AKI, February 11, 2011).
Hamas issued a press release calling on Egypt to serve once again as a support for the Palestinians and to oppose what it called the “Zionist-America project” in the Middle East (Al-Arab Online, February 11, 2011). Senior Hamas figures publicly supported the success of what they referred to as the “revolution in Egypt:”
– Ismail Haniya, head of the de facto Hamas administration, contacted the Muslim Brotherhood’s General Guide and congratulated him on the success of the “revolution in Egypt” (Hamas’ Palestine-info website and Al-Arab Online, February 11, 2011). A short Hamas press release noted that the victory of the Egyptian revolution would change history for Egypt and weaken the “blockade” of the Gaza Strip.
– Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, called on the new Egyptian government to lift immediately the “blockade” of the Gaza Strip and enable free passage through the Rafah crossing (Hamas’ Palestine-info website, February 11, 2011).
– Yunis al-Astal, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said that the fall of the Mubarak regime was also the fall of the Palestinian Authority, which “participated with the former Egypt regime in the blockade of Gaza” (Hamas’ Safa News Agency, February 11, 2011).
– Ayman Nofel, commander of the central sector of Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, who escaped from an Egyptian prison during the riots in Egypt and reached the Gaza Strip, said at a ceremony held in his honor that Mubarak’s resignation and the fall of the regime in Egypt were “the fall of a regime of oppression and corruption (Hamas’ Safa News Agency, February 11, 2011).
With the recent events in Egypt, various elements, apparently from Fatah, tried to incite the Gazans to hold a “revolution of honor” against Hamas on February 11. They called for the residents of the Gaza Strip to hold demonstrations and marches which would show the unity of the Palestinian people and call for the downfall of the Hamas administration. According to media reports, Hamas surrounded some of the mosques and prevented people from gathering, and only isolated marches were held. Hamas’ internal security forces detained some of the participants (Al-Kawfiya Press, Hamas’ Palestine-info website and Al-Ahed, February 11, 2011).