Sunday, July 15, 2007

What does a dog do with a car if he catches it?

In the vein of "be careful what you wish for, you might get it," here's the result of a new poll of residents of the Gaza strip.

The poll of Gaza residents shows a backlash. Hamas got only 23 percent support, down from 29 percent in the previous survey last month, while Fatah climbed from 31 percent to 43 percent.

The poll, the first major survey since the Hamas takeover, also showed that 66 percent of Hamas supporters said they would vote Fatah if it undertook reforms.

The poll, released by Near East Consulting, interviewed 450 residents of the Gaza Strip. It quoted a margin of error of 3.05 percentage points.

Fatah showed weakness in its armed confrontation with Hamas. Why, then, have the residents of Gaza lost respect for the latter in favor of the former?

"I was surprised," said Jamil Rabah, head of Near East Consulting.

Rabah said price hikes and food shortages along with a perception that Hamas was becoming increasingly authoritarian, contributed to its fall in support.

Trust in the Gaza-based deposed Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas stood at 37 percent, compared to 63 percent for Abbas. Prime Minister Sallam Fayad got higher trust marks than Haniyeh, 62-38 percent.

"A lot of people answering this question said we like Haniyeh more, but we want people who can really deliver," Rabah said. "People are becoming more realistic."

One hopes that realism might extend at some point to the recognition that driving the Jews out of Israel proper and into the sea ain't never gonna happen -- and that finding a way to co-exist with Israel without terror is the only way forward for Gazans in the long term.

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