Eighty percent of the residents of Gaza find it difficult to cope with the situation there and are considering emigration, a survey by the Gaza-based Institute of Development Studies has found. Gazans are finding it  progressively more difficult to deal with the economic situation there, according to the institute, and 44 percent said explicitly that they want to leave Gaza.

Blame Israel

The institute presented the survey as part of a request to the international community to protect Gazans from Israel's wrath and to pressure Israel to enable economic development in Gaza. 

The research also shows that since Hamas took over Gaza in June 2007, economic conditions in Gaza have worsened considerably. According to the report this is primarily due to the closure of border crossings into and out of Gaza, including the crossing into Egypt at Rafiah.

The Karni crossing was closed for 107 days and the total number of trucks which crossed into Gaza in 2007 was 8,397. The exports totaled 1,695 trucks.

Hamas Responsible

Saudi newspaper Ukaz, meanwhile, interviewed Dr. Mahmoud al-Hebash, a "minister" in Salam Fayyad's rival Fatah government in Judea and Samaria, who said the Hamas government was responsible for the Gaza crisis.

Hamas is making efforts to grab control of the aid sent to Gaza from "the legitimate government" in Ramallah, al-Hebash explained. He claimed Hamas is giving Israel excuses to continue "the policy of blockade," as he termed it. Al-Hebash called upon the Hamas government to recognize its responsibility for the crisis in Gaza following its military takeover. He accused it of trying to export the crisis to neighboring countries, meaning mostly Egypt.

Hamas is making efforts to grab control of the aid sent to Gaza from Ramallah, al-Hebash explained.

Economy 'Significantly Worse'

The findings of a Near East Consulting poll released Tuesday showed that some 94 percent of Gaza residents believe their economic situation under Hamas rule is significantly worse than it was before the terrorist organization took over the region. Hamas ousted the rival Fatah faction in what amounted to a civil war. Now Hamas controls Gaza; Fatah controls the PA areas of Judea and Samaria. In elections before the military coup a majority of the Arabs who live in those areas voted for Hamas.

The survey, which polled 900 Gaza residents, found that 64 percents of respondents live under the poverty line. More than two out of every five, (41 percent) said they would leave Gaza immediately if they could. Half of those polled feel less security since Hamas took over the region in June 2007 and 18 percent feel no change in the level of security. Some 32 percent said they feel more security since Hamas took control of Gaza.