Majority of Palestinians in Gaza want to emigrate, poll shows

Palestinians express their discontent in the streets.

Palestinians express their discontent in the streets. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

While most Palestinians are disheartened by their leadership and a lack of freedom and democracy, nearly half still say that ending the Israeli “occupation” is the most urgent matter.

By: Atara Beck, World Israel News

Arabs living under the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Judea and Samaria and under the Hamas regime in Gaza appear to be more bitter than ever, seeing no future for themselves or their families.

A poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) shows that most Palestinians are unhappy with their lives, wish to immigrate to another country, mistrust their leadership and believe they have no freedom.

The latest poll, conducted among 1,200 respondents, reveals that the Palestinian public is becoming increasingly frustrated. Some 50 percent of young Gazans, the highest percentage ever recorded in such polls, would like to leave the Hamas-ruled Strip for a better life.

Majority Supports Firing Rockets at Israel

Findings also show an additional decline, particularly in the Gaza Strip, in satisfaction with the alleged achievements of last summer’s war with Israel. However, a majority of 63 percent supports the launching of rockets at Israel.

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Nonetheless, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who controls Gaza, still leads in the polls over PA head Mahmoud Abbas in a presidential election in the Strip. In PA-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria, Abbas and Fatah, the ruling PA party, are more popular than Haniyeh and Hamas.

Findings also show that the Palestinian public is unhappy with the outcome of the PA attempt to have Israeli ousted from FIFA, the international football association, which ultimately was a failure. Approximately a third of the population believes that Israel came out a winner, while a little over a fifth believes that the Palestinian side benefited from that battle.

Negative perception of government

Regarding domestic conditions and the standard of living, a positive evaluation of conditions in the Gaza Strip stands at only 14 percent, and at 30 percent in PA-controlled Judea and Samaria.

Perception of safety and security in the Gaza Strip stands at 46 percent; in the PA, 54 percent.

Perception of corruption in PA institutions stands at 79 percent. Only 23 percent say there is press freedom in the PA, and 18 percent say the same about the situation in Gaza.

Only 32 percent of the Palestinian public say people in the PA can criticize the PA without fear. The perception is similar in Gaza, where 30 percent believe they can criticize the Hamas authorities without dire consequences.

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An overwhelming majority of 84 percent of Palestinians believe that the Islamic State (ISIS) is a radical group that does not represent true Islam, while 10 percent say that it does represent true Islam.

Optimism about reconciliation and an end to the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah has dropped over time, standing at 38 percent, with pessimism at 59 percent. Three months ago optimism stood at 42 percent and pessimism at 54 percent. A year after its establishment, satisfaction with the performance of the Hamas-Fatah unity government stands at only 35 percent; dissatisfaction stands at 59 percent. It is of significance to note that a year ago, right after its establishment, 61 percent had confidence in the reconciliation government.

Only 11 percent say first priority is democracy and freedom

The Palestinians complain of a corrupt government, unemployment and a bleak future, but they still place the blame on Israel. According to the poll, 45 percent believe that the most urgent Palestinian goal is to end “Israeli occupation,” 14 percent believe that it should be to build “a pious or moral individual and a religious society that applies all Islamic teachings,” and only 11 percent believe that the first and most vital goal should be to establish a democratic political system that respects freedoms and rights of Palestinians.

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The most serious problem confronting Palestinian society today, according to the survey, is the continuation of occupation and settlement activities in the eyes of 29 percent of the pubic; an identical percentage believe it is poverty and unemployment. A mere 22 percent say it is the spread of corruption in some public institutions, while 15 percent believe it is the siege of the Gaza Strip and the closure of its crossings.