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89% of Gaza Residents Support Rocket Attacks on Israel

Poll conducted by Palestinian Center for Public Opinion also shows majority support Abbas, oppose foreign monitors in Gaza.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 8/28/2014, 12:25 PM

Palestinian children in Gaza celebrate ceasefire announcement "victory"
Palestinian children in Gaza celebrate ceasefire announcement "victory"
Reuters

89% of Gazans support indiscriminate rocket fire against Israel civilians, according to a poll released on Wednesday.

The survey, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO), also showed widespread support for UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which has been fiercely criticized of turning a blind eye to Hamas incitement in its schools in the Gaza Strip, as well as the use of its school buildings to store rockets.

Asked about their opinion on the issue of "firing rockets at Israel", 60.3% "strongly supported" such actions, while a further 28.6% supported it somewhat - for a total of 88.9%.

7.0% of respondents were undecided, with 1% "strongly opposing" and 1.4% opposing it somewhat.

1.7% answered "I don't know". 

Dr. Nabil Kukali, who prepared the poll, noted those figures represented a significant increase from a previous poll, conducted in January 2013, which showed just 49% of Gazans in favor of rocket attacks.

The latest study was conducted between the 14-19th of August, during a six-day humanitarian ceasefire, while talks for a long-term truce between Israel and Gazan terrorists appeared deadlocked, and just before Hamas sparked the last round of fighting by breaking the temporary lull with a hail of rocket fire.

A "random sample" of 1,000 Palestinian Arabs were polled, "representing the various demographic specimens of adult Palestinians (18 years and above) living in [the] Gaza Strip".

61.2% opposed the presence of United Nations peacekeeping force in Gaza, similar to the multinational force deployed in southern Lebanon. Just 29.3% of those asked would support such an arrangement, while 9.5% declined to respond.

Gazan were also lukewarm to the idea - proposed repeatedly in talks - of an EU-monitored arrangement whereby the Palestinian Authority would take control of Gaza's crossings into Israel, as well as a joint Egyptian-Israeli control over crossings into Egypt. Just 37.7% supported it, while 56.6% opposed and 5.7% declined to respond.

Despite that, respondents in the Hamas-ruled enclave appear to view the performance of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas favorably overall. 

Asked: "Are you satisfied, or not, with the performance of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during the Israeli military operation “the Protective Edge” against Gaza Strip?", 54% answered "Yes", 38.6% said "No" and 7.4% said "I don’t know". 

Asked a similar question about UNRWA, 71.2% rated the agency's performance as "good", 21.8% as "fair", and just 6.8% as "bad". Only 0.2% said they "didn't know."

Curiously, the country deemed most supportive of the "Palestinian cause" by the largest number of respondents was Egypt, despite the country's hostility towards Hamas.

The full poll results can be found here.