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.”

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

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

Would an American-Backed UN Resolution Calling for a Temporary Ceasefire Undermine Israel?

Yesterday morning, the U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution, sponsored by Algeria, that demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. As an alternative, the American delegation has been circulating a draft resolution calling for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released.” Benny Avni comments:

While the Israel Defense Force may be able to maintain its Gaza operations under that provision, the U.S.-proposed resolution also warns the military against proceeding with its plan to enter the southern Gaza town of Rafah. Israel says that a critical number of Hamas fighters are hiding inside tunnels and in civilian buildings at Rafah, surrounded by a number of the remaining 134 hostages.

In one paragraph, the text of the new American resolution says that the council “determines that under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries, which would have serious implications for regional peace and security, and therefore underscores that such a major ground offensive should not proceed under current circumstances.”

In addition to the paragraph about Rafah, the American-proposed resolution is admonishing Israel not to create a buffer zone inside Gaza. Such a narrow zone, as wide as two miles, is seen by many Israelis as a future protection against infiltration from Gaza.

Perhaps, as Robert Satloff argues, the resolution isn’t intended to forestall an IDF operation in Rafah, but only—consistent with prior statements from the Biden administration—to demand that Israel come up with a plan to move civilians out of harms way before advancing on the city.

If that is so, the resolution wouldn’t change much if passed. But why is the U.S. proposing an alternative ceasefire resolution at all? Strategically, Washington has nothing to gain from stopping Israel, its ally, from achieving a complete victory over Hamas. Why not instead pass a resolution condemning Hamas (something the Security Council has not done), calling for the release of hostages, and demanding that Qatar and Iran stop providing the group with arms and funds? Better yet, demand that these two countries—along with Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon—arrest Hamas leaders on their territory.

Surely Russia would veto such a resolution, but still, why not go on the offensive, rather than trying to come up with another UN resolution aimed at restraining Israel?

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship, United Nations