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Poll following Gaza assault shows dramatic changes

A poll taken in both Gaza and the West Bank following the most recent assault on Gaza reveals major changes in opinions regarding Palestinian self-determination

Ahram Online, Wednesday 3 Sep 2014
Gaza
Palestinians stand on the rubble of houses destroyed in an Israeli strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014 (Photo: AP)
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The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) conducted a poll in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between 26 and 30 August 2014.

The poll focuses on the public perception of the assault on Gaza as well as an evaluation of the peace process between both parties.

 The fieldwork started on the last day of the war and continued during the first four days of the ceasefire.

Israel's assault on Gaza, which started on 8 July, killed at least 2,133 Palestinians and wounded more than 11,000

On the Israeli side, 68 people were killed, all but four of them soldiers. 

The total sample size for the survey is 1,270 adults interviewed in 127 randomly selected locations.

 Poll on Gaza assault:

According to PSR 79% believe Israel was responsible for the eruption of the assault on Gaza while; 5% believe Hamas was responsible; and 12% believe the responsibility lies with both sides.

The poll also measures satisfaction regarding the ceasefire, it shows that 63% believe that the ceasefire agreement satisfies Palestinian interests, while 34% disagree.

Moreover, 59% are satisfied with the accomplishment gained in the agreement compared to the human and material losses sustained by the Gaza Strip; 39% are dissatisfied with the accomplishment.

An overwhelming majority of 86% support the launching of rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israel if the siege and blockade are not ended.

Fifty-seven percent oppose disarming armed groups in the Gaza Strip while 25% support such a measure after the ending the siege and conducting of elections; 13% support this measure but only after reaching a peace agreement with Israel. In PSR’s June 2014 poll, only 33% said it opposed disarming and dissolving armed groups in the Gaza Strip.

Despite the current opposition to disarming Gaza groups, 54% support and 40% oppose Abbas’ position that argues against Hamas that the reconciliation government must be committed to existing agreements reached between the PLO and Israel.  In PSR’s previous poll in June, support for Abbas’ position stood at 59%.

Yet, only 43%, compared to 53% last June, agrees with the statement that the inclusion of Hamas into the PLO means an implicit acceptance by Hamas of the PLO peace program and the existing agreements with Israel.

Moreover, only 25% describe Egypt’s role in the ceasefire negotiations as positive while a majority of 52% describe it as negative and 22% as neutral.

In an evaluation of the performance of the various Palestinian actors during the war, Prime Minister Rami al Hamdallah comes at the bottom, with 35% giving him a positive rating. The PA comes next with 36%, Abbas with 39%, the reconciliation government with 43%, and the PLO with 44%.

On top comes Khalid Mish’al with 78% approval and Hamas with 88% approval. The approval rating for Abbas rises to 49% in the Gaza Strip and drops to 33% in the West Bank.

By contrast, Khalid Mish’al’s approval rating drops in the Gaza Strip to 70% and rises to 83% in the West Bank.

Poll on the reconciliation government and its role in Gaza after the war:

Optimism about the success of reconciliation and the end of the split rises to 69%; 28% remain pessimistic. In PSR’s last poll in June 62% were optimistic.

Three months after its establishment, 46% are satisfied with the performance of the reconciliation government and 46% are dissatisfied. Indeed, 60% prefer to get rid of the reconciliation government and form a unity government in which leaders and politicians from all major factions would participate; 34% oppose such a step and prefer to keep the reconciliation government.

The preference for a unity government drops significantly to 49% in the Gaza Strip and increases to 66% in the West Bank.

A majority of 51% wants to place the reconciliation government in charge of the Rafah crossing, but 38% prefer to keep it under Hamas’ control. In the Gaza Strip, 64% want to place the Rafah crossing under the control of the reconciliation government and only 25% want it under Hamas’ control. The same, with minor variation, applies to control over the crossings with Israel.

Correspondingly 48% want the reconciliation government to control the border with Egypt and 39% want it under Hamas’ control. The same, with minor variation, applies to the border with Israel; with 45% in favor of keeping the border under the control of the reconciliation government and 41% say they should stay under Hamas’ control.

In the Gaza Strip, 56% say borders with Egypt should come under the control of the reconciliation government and 49% say the border with Israel too should come under the control of the reconciliation government.

Forty-four percent believe the responsibility for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip should be placed in the hands of the reconciliation government while 39% prefer to place it in Hamas’ hands.

Poll on Peace Process:

Only 47% believe the chances for the resumption of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations are medium or high; 51% believe the chances are low or non-existent.

The public is divided over the two-state solution: 49% support it and 50% oppose it. In PSR’s last poll two months ago, 54% supported this solution and 46% opposed it.

A majority of 53% believe that armed confrontation is the most effective means to establish a Palestinian state next to the state of Israel. Only 22% believe negotiation is the best means to establish a Palestinian state and 20% believe that popular non-violent resistance is the most effective route to statehood.

Sixty-two percent say that the two-state solution is no longer practical due to Israeli settlement expansion and 35% think it is still practical. Yet, only 24% support the alternative one-state solution; 75% reject the one-state solution. These findings indicate a drop in the support for the one-state solution which two months ago stood at 31%.

An overwhelming majority of 81% believe that Israel’s long term aspiration is to annex the land occupied in 1967 and expel its population or deny them their political rights. By contrast, 63% believe that the long term aspiration of the Palestinian Authority and the PLO is to recover part or all of the land occupied in 1967.

In the absence of viable negotiations, 85% support joining more international organisations; 84% support joining the International Criminal Court; 62% favor resort to popular non-violent resistance; 60% support a return to an armed intifada; 42% support a dissolution of the PA; and 24% support abandoning the two-state solution in favor of a one-state solution. It is worth mentioning that two months ago only 41% indicated support for a return to an armed intifada.

Regarding boycotting Israel, 82% say they participate in boycotting Israeli goods that have local alternatives and 18% say they do not participate in the boycott. An overwhelming majority believes that the boycott movement is effective and 11% believe it to be ineffective.

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