The Palestinian Hamas movement has moved from militancy to politics, from resistance to imposing the status quo and from ruling the Gaza Strip to losing ground.
This deterioration boils down to rifts within the movement, ones over the objectives, message and management of the movement.
In early 2016, Hamas won a large number of seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council. It did this by marketing itself as a resistance group. Nevertheless, Hamas soon turned into a movement that sticks only to power and forgot resistance altogether.
When it came to power, it found out that it was obliged to cater to the needs of the Palestinian people. It also knew that it would foot a huge bill if it left power. This was why it continued to stay in power. But this caused Hamas to lose its popularity, even as Hamas continued to possess a military wing, namely the Qassam Brigades.
Hamas insisted not to collaborate with other Palestinian factions. It also rejected all proposals for forming a national unity government. Instead, Hamas persecuted the residents of Gaza. This increased rifts between the political and military arms of Hamas.
Hamas formed a huge army that contains tens of thousands of troops. It used this army only in controlling the Gaza Strip and tightening the noose around the residents of the strip. The members of the Hamas political arm realized, meanwhile, that they can lose the Gaza Strip altogether if they do not reach a political settlement with Israel.
However Hamas has proved an utter failure in running Gaza. It failed to honor its obligations to the residents of the coastal territory, including the delivery of electricity and other services.
Growing economic hardships forced Hamas to depend on a network of smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Sinai to generate revenues. The tunnels give Hamas almost 80% of its income.
Deteriorating economic conditions in Gaza gave rise to several radical movements in Gaza, including ISIS. Hamas had to use force to keep the lid on these movements and prevent them from staging attacks against Israel. The members of these movements, on the other hand, accused Hamas of collaborating with Israel.
But this caused a large number of Hamas junior members to leave the movement. They did this after discovering the hypocrisy of the senior leaders of the movement.
Hamas conducts, meanwhile, secretly negotiates with Israel to sign a long-term truce, establish sovereignty and have an airport and a seaport.
This shows that Hamas acts in a way that is totally different from the way it talks. It turned Gaza into a large prison.