In the latest round of escalation, Jihad managed to push Hamas into a corner. In recent months, Islamic Jihad gained much strength – not only militarily, but also publically. Iran provides it with money and arms, while the difficult state in Gaza, with problems in the supply of electricity and water, are prompting criticism against the Hamas government.
Hence, Jihad has become a major force threatening Hamas’ hegemony, at least in all matters pertaining to the struggle and resistance against Israel. “We have no other option; certainly no diplomatic option,” explained one merchant in a phone call from Gaza. “That’s why we support Islamic Jihad.”
Hamas is confused. Sitting on the fence in recent days while holding its fire wasn’t good for the organization. Some group leaders attempted to voice their support for the fighting, yet in practice, since Saturday they acted via Egypt to secure a ceasefire. Hamas had no power to put an end to Jihad’s fire, and truce talks were managed far from the public eye.