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Hamas Nears the Breaking Point

Why Egypt Is to Blame

A Palestinian member of al-Qassam Brigades during a military parade in Gaza City, December 14, 2014. Suhaib Salem / Courtesy Reuters

At a rally for Hamas in Gaza in early February, a spokesman for the group, Sami Abu Zuhri, warned that the continued blockade on the area “will push Hamas to carry out actions which could be described as crazy.” When it comes to Hamas, such rhetoric is par for the course—except for one thing: the target of the group's threat was not Israel. Demonstrators were there to protest Egyptian policies.

Since the end of the summer 2014 Gaza war, Egypt has increased the political and economic pressure on Hamas. The moves are in line with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s crackdown on Islamist opposition at home. After all, Hamas originally grew out of the Gaza branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Egyptian government claims that the broader group is part of a well-organized international conspiracy against Egypt and that destroying it is an existential necessity. Egypt’s Gaza

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