Ook in de Arabische wereld groeit de kritiek op Hamas leiders, die zelf luxueus leven en van een afstand toekijken hoe Gaza wordt gebombardeerd, vanwege hun orders om vooral Israel geen duimbreed toe te geven en niet te stoppen met de raketaanvallen.
Private jets, restaurants, luxury hotels: the good life of senior Hamas officials
Hamas leaders are facing criticism inside and outside of Gaza for enjoying a comfortable lifestyle while Gazans suffer.
Hamas leaders have been often seen in recent days talking about the suffering of the residents of Gaza. But while most Palestinians are faced with shortages and restrictions on movement in the Gaza Strip, this is far from the case for officials from Hamas, which has been the de facto ruler there since throwing out political rivals Fatah in 2007.
As reported recently in Ynet, Hamas has millions in assets, and it seems that the wealth extends to day-to-day life as well as investments and fat bank accounts. For them, life is about private jets and luxury, not war planes and hunger.
But as the IDF's Operation Protective Edge, triggered by Hamas rocket fire on Israel, continues, more and more voices can be heard inside and outside of Gaza attacking the movement and its leaders' ostentatious lifestyle.
On Sunday, Egyptian officials sharply criticized Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal, stating that "while the Hamas leadership lives in luxury hotels, it is abandoning the innocent Palestinian people, who are being killed in their dozens."
These claims are just the attacks - unprecedented in their intensity – directed at Mashal, Hamas leader in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh, and the Hamas leadership outside the country, mostly by groups aligned to Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi.
According to sources in Hamas, the movement's leadership abroad was one of the opponents to the Egyptian initiative for a ceasefire in Gaza, while the leadership in the Strip, which is closer to the Gazan citizens, was more inclined to accept. But now, as part of the criticism against Hamas, old photos have resurfaced of Mashal in Qatar, exercising in the gym, playing tennis, watching TV and dining at a restaurant with full table in front of him.
There is even a new Twitter campaign entitled "No hello and no welcome, Khaled Mashal", directed against the Hamas political chief, which places images of Mashal in the gym against a background of Palestinian children killed by the IDF.
One of the most prominent voices in this protest is Egyptian journalist Ahmad Musa, who is a clear al-Sisi supporter. On one of his
recent programs for the "Sda al-Balad" channel , Musa presented the same images of Mashal working out in Qatar, and reminded the Hamas leader that, "the jihad is in Gaza." Then, with the image of Mashal on an exercise bike in the background, Musa said: "This is the jihad before the meal to break the (Ramadan) fast. Before the meal he does sports, then he eats the honored meal, then he closely follows the television."
Then the Egyptian broadcaster posed a challenge to the Hamas political wing: "If you're a man and a hero, tomorrow get on the first plane and enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. Your followers in Gaza will greet you and get you into hiding with Ismail Haniyeh."
He then showed pictures of Haniyeh playing soccer, and mockingly called it jihad for Allah.
Another Hamas official who has in recent years carefully documented his travels around the world is Haniyeh adviser Taher a-Nunu, who recently served as spokesman for the organization. In photos he posted on social networks, you can see him at one of the upper floors of a Qatar hotel, or on a "hunting trip" off the Gaza coast.
Even a year ago, when the images of Mashal in the gym first emerged, some did praise him for keeping in shape, but there were also less enthusiastic comments.
"What's with all the air conditioners and the exercise machines, when the Palestinian people can't even get enough to eat?" one commenter wondered sarcastically. "Are these machines he took with him from Syria, or is it actually new funding from Qatar?"
The Hamas political leadership under Mashal relocated from Damascus to Qatar with the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, which created a rift between Hamas and Iran and its other allies Syria and Hezbollah, against a backdrop of statements by Hamas officials in favor of the Syrian rebels.
At the same time, Hamas' opponents renewed their attacks on the group, claiming it received its orders from Qatar and Turkey, and was actually a carbon copy of Muslim Brotherhood. After Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi was deposed, the criticism against Mashal and his associates has only increased.