Palestinian sources said the Hamas regime has suspended operations to
force Gazans to observe Muslim principles. They said Hamas police were no
longer raiding cafes or seeking to prevent women from smoking water pipes in
"There has been recognition that most Palestinians were against such
measures and that this only escalated anti-government sentiment," a
Palestinian source close to the regime said.
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The sources said Hamas appeared to suspend the enforcement of Muslim
behavior around May, which also pressured women to cover their hair.
They cited massive demonstrations against the regime in March as well as the
reconciliation agreement with the rival Fatah movement.
"Fatah is becoming more popular here, only because they never imposed
Islam on the population," the source said. "It's clear that Hamas is drawing
a lesson from this."
The sources said Hamas has been divided over an enforcement campaign to
follow Islamic principles. They said several ministers warned that the
campaign was counterproductive while others insisted that this would assuage
a growing pro-Al Qaida, or Salafist movement, in the Gaza Strip.
"Hamas is capable of changing its policy in a day, and if it means
bolstering the regime, it could go back to enforcement of a Muslim dress
code," another Palestinian source said.