Gazans Blame Hamas for Their Economic Miseries but Also Anticipate Victory Over Israel

According to two recent opinion surveys conducted by respected pollsters, the people of the Gaza Strip are unhappy with Hamas’s policy of confrontation with Israel and would much prefer a cease-fire. Their opinions on other issues also display surprising moderation, as David Pollock writes:

[M]ost Gazans say they want direct dialogue with Israelis and would like Israeli companies to provide jobs for them inside that Hamas-ruled territory. Most also blame Hamas, the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, or the UN—not Israel—for their severe economic woes. Moreover, remarkably, a plurality of Palestinians in Gaza say they want Hamas to change its rejectionist position and agree to make peace with Israel. . . .

More specifically, regarding the weekly Hamas-led border protests, just 36 percent of Gazans support this tactic, while 62 percent say they oppose it. Conversely, a formal cease-fire with Israel garners more support than opposition: 73 to 25 percent in one poll; 51 to 45 percent in the other. On the harder question [of whether] Hamas [should] “stop calling for Israel’s destruction, and instead accept a permanent two-state solution based on the 1967 borders,” one poll shows Gazans say yes by a margin of 53 to 45 percent; the other poll yields a slightly narrower margin of 48 to 44 percent. . . .

To be sure, none of this means that most Gazans like, trust, or [even] accept the lasting reality of Israel. In both polls, for instance, only about half say that negotiations with Israel have had “somewhat positive” results to date. Similarly, only about half say that a two-state solution should “end the conflict.” And slightly more than half . . . still anticipate that “eventually, the Palestinians will control almost all of Palestine”—either because “God is on their side,” or because “they will outnumber the Jews someday.”

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza Strip, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palestinian public opinion

 

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia