analysisIsrael at War

Hamas is losing its grip on Gaza

As the Israeli military presses ahead, Hamas rule in northern Gaza is being completely undermined.

A column of Israeli tanks near the border with Gaza, Oct. 12, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
A column of Israeli tanks near the border with Gaza, Oct. 12, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
Baruch Yedid

In an apparent attempt to reassure Gaza City residents after Israeli tanks were seen on Monday on Salah al-Din street, the city’s main highway, Hamas announced that “a number of tanks reached an agricultural area and escaped from the place under the fire of the resistance.”

However, the Israel Defense Force’s pressure on northern Gaza continues. The army is still advising residents to move to the south as it continues to strikes Hamas positions and strongholds.

In contrast to the initial days of fighting, Palestinian rescue services were functioning only partially on Monday. The central Hamas government and local neighborhood authorities are barely functioning.

The IDF is calling on residents to leave the north, but many have been forced to stay by Hamas, which has blocked roads and even fired on civilians trying to flee. The terror group is forcing thousands of Gazans to serve as human shields around its headquarters.

Hamas leaders are also blaming Hezbollah for not coming to their aid as they had expected. That point has been openly echoed by Hamas representatives in Lebanon.

While Gazans call on the Arab world for aid, Egypt has shut the gates of the Strip. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi fears that once Palestinians are allowed into the Sinai, they will establish terrorist strongholds there.

In any event, the Rafah crossing from Egypt is not equipped to handle large numbers of commercial deliveries. Commercial deliveries to the Strip from Egypt are usually routed through Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing, which is adjacent to the Egypt-Gaza border.

The Kerem Shalom crossing is closed for security reasons.

Queues outside the dwindling number of shops still open in Gaza are growing. Street bakeries and food trucks have opened in various places. Water is mainly available in the south, and most of the Strip is without electricity.

Hamas did indeed surprise Israel on Oct. 7, but seems surprised itself now by Israel’s response.

As Israel’s ground forces close in on its positions, it seems Hamas rule in northern Gaza will be completely undermined in the not-too-distant future.

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