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

Will Costco Go to Israel?

Social-media users have mocked this week new Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich for a poorly translated letter. But far more interesting than the finance minister’s use of Google Translate (or some such technology) is what the letter reveals about the Jewish state. In it, Smotrich asks none other than Costco to consider opening stores in Israel.

Why?

Israel, reports Sharon Wrobel, has one of the highest costs of living of any country in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

This

has been generally attributed to a lack of competition among local importers and manufacturers. The top three local supermarket chains account for over half of the food retail market, limiting competition and putting upward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, import tariffs, value-added tax costs and kosher restrictions have been keeping out international retail chains.

Is the move likely to happen?

“We do see a recent trend of international retailers entering the Israeli market as some barriers to food imports from abroad have been eased,” Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Israel accounting firm, told The Times of Israel. “The purchasing power and technology used by big global retailers for logistics and in the area of online sales where Israel has been lagging behind could lead to a potential shift in the market and more competitive prices.”

Still, the same economist noted that in Israel “the cost of real estate and other costs such as the VAT on fruit and vegetables means that big retailers such as Costco may not be able to offer the same competitive prices than in other places.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Costco, Israel & Zionism