Gaza Strip: Support for Hamas Dwindles

Gaza Strip

Hamas, a designated terrorist group by Israel and a few other countries, officially took over the Gaza strip through a series of violent clashes. They seized the presidential headquarters in Gaza overnight on June 15, 2007 after a week of fighting for power with Fatah. However, since this seizure support for Hamas in the Gaza strip is seen to be dwindling. According to a recent poll conducted by Washington Institute, many Gazans do not support their role.

Due to Hamas’ takeover, most of the previous judicial and political structures were disrupted, leaving the region in a political vacuum. The progress that Hamas has made in the Gazan civil society since then is extremely slow. Any of the accomplishments made have happened within an authoritarian regime, offering the residents little freedom of expression. The media and the NGOs in the Gaza strip are under tight scrutiny. Furthermore, there is little accountability for the Hamas rule and opposition parties remain limited in what they can do.

Nathan J. Brown, a researcher who spent some time in Gaza, recalled that the information most Palestinians received in Gaza were fairly controlled because newspapers were mostly pro-Hamas. In addition, the public space is equally restrictive since demonstrations that do not align with the Hamas agenda are prohibited or stopped. Banners showing support for the Hamas rule are displayed everywhere.

In addition, Brown noticed corruption and favoritism taking place as government positions were mostly occupied by Hamas supporters and the electoral system was almost nonexistent. Although they now do have judicial system, it is a very loose and improvised system that is based on authoritarian rule. Rarely is there communication with groups outside of Hamas.

Since Hamas declared its reign over the Gaza strip seven years ago, a recent poll revealed a political dissatisfaction with Hamas rule. The poll was conducted by the Washington Institute on June 15-17 after the kidnapping of the three Israeli soldiers and comprised of face-to-face interviews with a sample of 1,200 Palestinians. In addition, this survey is reliable, only consisting of a marginal error of three percent. The responses that this survey yielded is surprising.

Before the airstrikes between Israel and Gaza began in the beginning of July, most Palestinians favored a non-violent approach to their relationship with Israel. An overwhelming majority of Gazans (70 percent) said they would want to maintain a ceasefire with Israel, indicating that they wanted peace, not war.

Furthermore, there is surprisingly little support for the Hamas leaders in the Gaza strip, as the poll showed that only 15 percent of them supported leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashal. Gazans do not approve of Hamas leading their country and instead a majority of people wanted leaders affiliated with Fatah. The small percentage of Hamas supporters in the Gaza Strip displays the dwindling support for this militant group.

In addition, most are unhappy with the level of corruption and crime that exists in their region, as 66 percent of Gazans see the corruption of their officials as huge problems. Over 70 percent of them also view crime as an issue in the areas that they live in. Furthermore, the survey showed that over 80 percent of Gazans expressed a desire for Israel to allow more people to work there because they want more economic opportunity.

Although these numbers are the most up to date records available about Palestinian sentiments, their outlook may have shifted due to the increase of violence and fighting that has happened within the past two weeks. However, their confidence and support for Hamas in the Gaza Strip may still be dwindling more so, as their hostility towards Israel may also be rising in this on-going conflict.

By Joyce Chu

Sources:

Carnegie Endowment

Washington Institute

Business Insider

BBC

12 Responses to "Gaza Strip: Support for Hamas Dwindles"

  1. Katy Smith   July 26, 2014 at 12:00 am

    Are these the same murdering rapist subhuman Muslims that cheered when the twin towers came down. Don’t care much for them.

    Reply
  2. Kais   July 25, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Those zionists are the true terrorists not only against Arabs but also against humankind!! Anyone who is oppressed and whose land has been occupied has all the rights to defend himself !!!

    Reply
  3. Esam Obiedat   July 25, 2014 at 8:04 am

    Where do you bring this BS, I am an Arab and I can see how many Arab people are supporting Hamas. They even send letters and wishes to them to come and free other Arab countries from their dictators when they are done with Israel (in Allah’s well, it will be soon).

    Reply
  4. faircomment   July 24, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    Well if somebody moved next door to me, took over part of my garden and then started to build a shed on it I could be fore given for getting angry and throwing bricks at their windows bvecause clearly the law is not being adhered to

    Reply
  5. D Idesse   July 24, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Where are the rich Hamas leaders hanging out during this war?

    Reply
  6. HC   July 24, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Israel cannot defeat Hamas. Hamas will be defeated when the people in Gaza revolt against Hamas. Hamas cannot dig tunnels or store rockets when enough of the population says “NO!” and “Get out of here!!”

    Reply
  7. Igor B   July 24, 2014 at 6:26 am

    I just met a 60 year old Arab today in the West Bank. He has a son and grandson in Gaza. He said he spoke to them today on the phone, they say they are ok. They are praying that Israel will not make a cease fire but rather will finish the job, strangle and hunt down all the Hamas terrorists. They realize civilians are getting killed too but they hate Hamas and are praying for Israel’s success. Any Brits or others protesting genocide by Israel in Gaza are misguided or liars. If you care for the Palestanians in Gaza, help and support Israel, blame Hamas.

    As I saw a quote from someone, when the terrorists love their children more than they hate jews/israel, only then will there be peace.

    They do not live in a prison made by israel. Should USA open all the borders to Mexico and Canada so the ppl living there can enjoy more safety and prosperity? Total BS.

    Reply
  8. Steve B   July 24, 2014 at 3:33 am

    Maybe the points made and the information are good, but they are stated in such poor English that it’s hard to tell. “The responses that this survey yielded is surprising,” for example, is just plain ignorance. Basic facts that everyone knows are gotten wrong–it was three Israeli teens who were killed, not a “kidnapping of the three Israeli soldiers.” This is very, very poor journalism.

    Reply
  9. Joyce Chu   July 23, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Hi Brad, I appreciate your thoughts but the poll was actually conducted last month and it is the most recent poll we have of Gazan opinion. You can read more about on this website:
    http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/new-palestinian-poll-shows-hardline-views-but-some-pragmatism-too

    Reply
  10. jimmy kraktov   July 23, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    It’s no surprise that the people of Gaza want to live in peace. But, Hamas couldn’t care less what the people of Gaza want. They’re not fighting for the people of Gaza. They’re terrorists with their own agenda. They want power and control, at anyone’s cost but their own. Hamas attacks, and then quickly hides behind women and children. Someone who acts tough, and hides behind women and children, fools no one. That is the tactic of a coward, plain and simple. I feel badly for the people of Gaza but they must do something to rid their land of Hamas, and so far the only ones who have shown a willingness to do this are the Israelis.

    Reply
  11. Joyce   July 23, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    They have most of the world’s support now. People are rooting for Hamas to give Israel a good lashing

    Reply
  12. BradB   July 23, 2014 at 8:09 am

    A poll taken almost two years ago.. is not a very good source of current information.
    Most people in Gaza support Hamas’s fight against Israel. Because they want to be released from the prison Israel created for them.

    Reply

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