Hamas, PA responsible for crises, say Gazans - poll

Only 15% blamed Israel for the problems in the Gaza Strip, and just 7% blamed Egypt.

 Bulldozers remove debris of Al-Jawharah Tower that was hit by Israeli air strikes during Israel-Palestine fighting last May, in Gaza City, December 21, 2021 (photo credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS)
Bulldozers remove debris of Al-Jawharah Tower that was hit by Israeli air strikes during Israel-Palestine fighting last May, in Gaza City, December 21, 2021
(photo credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS)

Most Palestinians in the Gaza Strip hold the Palestinian Authority and Hamas responsible for the continued crises in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave, according to a public opinion poll published on Thursday by the Palestinian Atlas Center for Studies and Research.

The results showed that 45% of respondents believe that the PA is responsible for the various crises in the Gaza Strip, with 25% saying they hold Hamas responsible, and only 15% blaming Israel.

Additionally, only 7% of respondents blamed Egypt for the crises in the Gaza Strip, home to approximately two million Palestinians.

The PA, Hamas and many international parties often hold Israel solely responsible for the “economic and humanitarian crisis” in the Gaza Strip because of the blockade imposed there.

In 2007, Hamas seized control of Gaza after removing the PA from power. Since then, Hamas and the ruling Fatah faction dominating the PA have been at war with each other.

 The Gaza border barrier (credit: MINISTRY OF DEFENSE SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE) The Gaza border barrier (credit: MINISTRY OF DEFENSE SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)

In 2017 and 2018, PA President Mahmoud Abbas imposed a series of sanctions on the Gaza Strip as part of an effort to undermine Hamas and bring about its downfall. The sanctions included, among other things, cutting salaries to thousands of civil servants, and financial aid to needy families.

Some PA officials regularly hold Hamas responsible for the crises in Gaza, while Hamas and other Palestinian factions have repeatedly held the PA responsible.

Some Palestinians, however, continue to point an accusing finger at Egypt because of the closure of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

The poll showed that a majority of Palestinians in Gaza believe that their living conditions will remain unchanged or will deteriorate.

According to the results, 71% of respondents said that they don’t believe Palestinian officials who talk about a financial crisis in the PA.

The results showed that 87% of respondents in Gaza feel safe and secure under Hamas's rule. Another 59% expressed satisfaction with the performance of Hamas-controlled government institutions.

Regarding the conflict with Israel, 47% of those surveyed voiced support for an “armed resistance” as their preferred method of restoring Palestinian rights.

Unsurprisingly, the results showed that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is the Palestinians’ preferred choice for PA president, followed by jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti.

According to the poll, Hamas would win 36% of the vote if a parliamentary election was held today, with Abbas’s Fatah faction receiving only 18% of the vote, according to the results.

The parliamentary election was supposed to be held on May 22, but was called off by Abbas in late April. Abbas justified his move by accusing Israel of refusing to allow the election to take place in Jerusalem.

Several Palestinian political analysts and activists, however, believe that Abbas made the decision after concluding that Fatah was certain to suffer a humiliating defeat in the election, mainly because the faction was contesting the vote under three separate slates.

The poll was conducted in the Gaza Strip from December 5-8 among 1,000 Palestinians living there, and has a margin of error of 2%-3%.

Established in the Gaza Strip in 2012, the Palestinian Atlas Center for Studies and Research describes itself as an “independent research institution” specializing in Israeli affairs, “with the aim of serving the Palestinian cause and spreading awareness about the Zionist enterprise and the Israeli entity.”