In February, Palestinians held protests in several areas of the
Gaza Strip as part of a demand for democratic reforms, Middle East Newsline reported. Scores of
Palestinians were later interrogated, including members of the opposition
The sources said Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has urged security
forces to ease its crackdown on dissent. But they said Haniyeh, who on March
10 reshuffled his Cabinet and appointed the first woman minister, has been
opposed by Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari and Interior Minister Fathi
On March 8, the Interior Ministry ordered police to apologize for the
beating of a democracy activist. The ministry acknowledged that Samer Abu
Rahma, a representative of the June 5 Youth, was beaten and abused during
"The police admitted that they verbally abused and threatened me and my
colleagues that they would break our bones," Abu Rahma said. "Then, they
told us they are our masters."
Some of the protests called for a reconciliation between Hamas and
Fatah, the ruling movement in the West Bank. The demonstrations, facilitated
by Facebook and Twitter, have been organized by a group called "The Popular
Movement to End Division."
"We insist that our demand is only the end of the division," the
The sources said Hamas security forces, believed led by Jabari, have
refused to apologize to Abu Rahma. The Interior Ministry ordered an
investigation of the treatment of Abu Rahma and five of his colleagues.
"The police do not apologize to anybody," a police source said.