By D. Bender
Some 80 percent of Palestinians in the West bank and Gaza Strip support the resumption of rocket fire into Israel, according to a new poll published Monday by the Palestinian Institute for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR), Israel’s Walla News reported.
The poll, conducted in recent days among 1,200 respondents aged 18 and over, at 120 locations throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, presents a different picture than that obtained from a similar survey conducted immediately after Operation Protective Edge about a month ago.
According to the previous results, “if presidential elections were to take place today, Ismail Haniyeh would easily win over Abbas and Hamas would win the largest percentage of the popular vote in parliamentary elections.” 61 percent of Palestinians would vote for Hamas leader Haniyeh and over 32 percent for rival Palestinian Authority Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, according to the PCPSR survey.
The current survey shows that there is less satisfaction with the achievements of the Palestinians during the 50 days of fighting.
Forty nine percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Hamas’ achievements, compared with 59 percent in the previous survey. The survey also found that there was a decline in the public’s belief that Hamas emerged victorious in the fighting. The survey data shows that 69 percent of respondents believe that the organization completed the operation with the upper hand, compared with 79 percent in the survey conducted last month.
Eighty percent of respondents made it clear they would support firing rockets and mortars at Israeli communities if Israel does not allow unfettered access to the coastal enclave. 57 percent of respondents also claimed that they supported launching rockets from populated areas in the Gaza Strip. However, the breakdown of this figure shows that most Gaza residents – 52 percent – oppose such a course of action, while in the West Bank that step has a clear majority: 62 percent.
The survey respondents were also asked questions about the other players in the arena, especially in Israel and Egypt. Among other findings, 21 percent of respondents described the involvement of Egypt in mediating between the parties as positive, while 57 percent felt that it negatively affected results. When asked about the identity of the entity or state that will have to bear the financial burden of rebuilding the Gaza Strip after the war, 30 percent of respondents answered that it should be Israel, 24 percent said donations from Western countries would suffice, 23 percent said Arab countries, 10 percent said tax revenues and 10 percent thought that Hamas ought to finance reconstruction.
Another key issue in the Institute’s survey was the Palestinian peace process with Israel. Only 40 percent of respondents claimed that they had heard about the political plan of Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, to end the Israeli occupation and establish a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines. Among those who replied that they had heard about the program, 72 percent made it clear that they supported it.
However, only 42 percent rated the chances of success as medium or high. 58 percent said that the chances of success are low. In addition, an interesting finding from the survey is that 53 percent of respondents support the two-state solution, while 46 percent oppose it. However, a majority of 56 percent opposed recognition of Israel as a Jewish state while 41 percent supported it.
Meanwhile, Hamas may be returning to self-production of rockets in Gaza, and has been testing out new models, by firing them out to sea, according to Israel Defense News.
A rocket was recently fired from the ruins of the former Jewish community of Netzerim, according to Monday’s report, the fifth such test since the end of Protective Edge on Aug. 26th.
As well, Hamas is seeking to restore hundreds of lathes used to construct rockets, according to the IDF; some 50 percent of them were destroyed during the fight, the army believes.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Sunday that Hamas had depleted some four fifths of its rocket and mortar arsenal during the operation.
Ya’alon, summing up the “Military and Political Lessons” of the complex operation, meant to halt both incessant rocket fire, as well as find and destroy dozens of attack tunnels dug under Israeli territory, made his comments at a public conference held at the BESA Center at Tel Aviv University.