Gaza’s economy has collapsed since then beneath a crushing blockade imposed by Israel with the help of Egypt. Unemployment is above 50 per cent, according to the World Bank, and nearly half the population lives in poverty.
Israel says the blockade is necessary to stop Hamas amassing weapons and blames the economic misery in Gaza on Hamas corruption and misrule.
While there is almost universal opposition to Israel inside Gaza, some Palestinians have also channelled their anger against Hamas.
The spark for the protests appears to have been Hamas’ decision to raise taxes on imports as well as cigarettes and other household items. However, economic frustration has been building for years.
In one widely-shared video, a mother taking part in the protests rails against Ismail Haniyeh and Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ top leaders, about the unemployment situation.
“Our sons and daughters have lost 12 years of their lives. For what? Each son of a Hamas official owns an apartment, a car, a Jeep, a building, while our sons have nothing at all. They keep us busy with earning bread only,” she says.