A Palestinian boy plays at a house that witnesses said was destroyed during Operation Protective Edge in the east of Gaza City.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Islamist Hamas movement that dominates Gaza has gained in popularity among all Palestinians since last year's war with Israel, but most feel the devastation caused by the conflict outweighs its achievements, a new poll shows.
Pollster Khalil Shikaki of the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey also reported what he called "the highest number ever recorded" -- 50 percent -- of Palestinians in the impoverished and isolated Gaza Strip considering emigration.
"There's a very high level of frustration we are seeing in Gaza
more than at any other time in the past year," Shikaki told reporters by teleconference from the West Bank
, referring to results of the June 4-6 survey.
Rebuilding has been slow in Gaza
since the 2014 war, in which Palestinian militants launched thousands of rockets and mortar bombs at Israel
while Israeli air strikes and artillery battered Gaza
, a small densely populated enclave. More than 2,100 Palestinians, mainly civilians, were killed while 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed on the Israeli side.
When asked who they would support if a parliamentary election were to be held, 39 percent of those polled in Gaza
said they would vote for Hamas
, up from 32 percent a year ago.
In the West Bank
, where the Fatah
party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
exercises self-rule alongside Israeli settlements in occupied territory, support for Hamas
has risen to 32 percent from 27 percent three months ago. Fatah
weighed in at 36 percent backing, down from 41 percent in March.
Shikaki said Hamas
's rising appeal in the West Bank
could be attributed in part to frustration with a prolonged impasse in diplomacy between Abbas and Israel
on a Palestinian state in territory Israel
captured in a 1967 war.
But 63 percent of Palestinians in Gaza
and the West Bank
were unhappy with the achievements of the Hamas
war "compared to the human and material losses" Gaza
suffered, the poll also showed.
Shikaki said Abbas, the president since succeeding the late Yasser Arafat
in 2004, held a slight edge in personal popularity over Ismail Haniyeh
, the Hamas
leader in Gaza
But Abbas' performance rating had dipped to 44 percent from 50 percent at the outset of last year's Fatah
unity deal, which has still not yet been fully implemented on the ground.
triumphed in the last Palestinian parliamentary election held in 2006. Fresh elections have been repeatedly postponed since Hamas
's seizure of power from Fatah
in a brief 2007 civil war.
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