Pales­tinian poll shows dis­con­tent with Ha­mas

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY IAN DEITCH

Gaza res­i­dents are un­happy with the ter­ri­tory’s Is­lamic mil­i­tant Ha­mas rulers and their war with Is­rael last sum­mer, a new Pales­tinian poll re­leased Tues­day shows.

The poll by the Pales­tinian Cen­ter for Pol­icy and Sur­vey Re­search shows that half of Gaza res­i­dents want to em­i­grate, com­pared to 25 per­cent in the West Bank.

The cen­ter’s direc­tor, Khalil Shikaki, said the 50-per­cent im­mi­gra­tion fig­ure in Gaza is higher than ever be­fore and that among young peo­ple it is even higher, about 80 per­cent.

“Gaza is def­i­nitely show­ing tremen­dous frus­tra­tion,” Shikaki said.

A

ma­jor­ity, 63

per­cent,

ex- pressed dis­sat­is­fac­tion with “achieve­ments com­pared to hu­man and ma­te­rial losses” in the 2014 Gaza war that killed over 2,200 Pales­tini­ans and 73 peo­ple in Is­rael. Fight­ing dev­as­tated parts of Gaza and re­con­struc­tion has been slow, caus­ing many there to ask if it was worth it.

Of those polled, 63 per­cent said they sup­port launch­ing rock­ets at Is­rael while a block­ade is in place. The same num­ber said they fa­vor in­di­rect talks be­tween Ha­mas and Is­rael to ne­go­ti­ate a long-term truce in ex­change for lift­ing the block­ade.

Is­rael and Egypt im­posed the block­ade on Gaza af­ter Ha­mas seized the coastal ter­ri­tory from forces loyal to West­ern-backed Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas in 2007, ar­gu­ing it pre­vents Ha­mas from get­ting more weapons.

Ha­mas has ruled Gaza with an iron fist since, leav­ing Ab­bas gov­ern­ing parts of the West Bank.

Only 30 per­cent said they can crit­i­cize Ha­mas with­out fear. In the West Bank, 32 per­cent said they could freely crit­i­cize Ab­bas.

De­spite the num­bers, the poll found that if free elec­tions were held to­day with just Ab­bas and Ha­mas’ leader Is­mail Haniyeh com­pet­ing, Ha­mas would win in Gaza and Ab­bas in the West Bank, both by slim mar­gins.

The Pales­tinian Cen­ter for Pol­icy and Sur­vey Re­search polled 1,200 peo­ple in early June for the re­port, with a 3-per­cent mar­gin of er­ror.

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