Homemade Resistance: The Popular Response to the Difficulties of Life in Gaza

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The recent conflict activity on the Gaza border can be characterized by its lack of affiliation to armed groups in Gaza and by the use of homemade and/or found weapons (i.e stones and Molotov cocktails, either thrown or attached to balloons or kites). These unaffiliated actors are responding to their daily conditions, which are punctuated by food shortages, electricity cuts, unemployment, and violence because of Israel’s blockade of Gaza. While diplomatic efforts are important for durable peace, a ceasefire agreement to prevent incendiary devices from being launched into Israel will only be sustained if living conditions in Gaza improve.

When ceasefire negotiations are discussed in the media, they refer to talks between Israel and either Hamas or the Palestinian Authority. However, it appears that Hamas has taken a secondary role in regional conflict events since March 30 (see Figure 1[i]). The primary actors in Gaza are unaffiliated demonstrators and people outside of demonstrations who launch airborne incendiary devices. These individuals may have varying personal and political relationships to armed groups, but in these activities they are not claiming to be affiliated with any group and, more importantly, are not clearly organized by one. Many armed groups, including Hamas, have openly supported and encouraged the weekly Friday demonstrations, but they are not organized or armed by Hamas.