Avi Issacharoff, The Times of Israel's Middle East analyst, fills the same role for Walla, the leading portal in Israel. He is also a guest commentator on many different radio shows and current affairs programs on television. Until 2012, he was a reporter and commentator on Arab affairs for the Haaretz newspaper. He also lectures on modern Palestinian history at Tel Aviv University, and is currently writing a script for an action-drama series for the Israeli satellite Television "YES." Born in Jerusalem, he graduated cum laude from Ben Gurion University with a B.A. in Middle Eastern studies and then earned his M.A. from Tel Aviv University on the same subject, also cum laude. A fluent Arabic speaker, Avi was the Middle East Affairs correspondent for Israeli Public Radio covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Iraq and the Arab countries between the years 2003-2006. Avi directed and edited short documentary films on Israeli television programs dealing with the Middle East. In 2002 he won the "best reporter" award for the "Israel Radio” for his coverage of the second intifada. In 2004, together with Amos Harel, he wrote "The Seventh War - How we won and why we lost the war with the Palestinians." A year later the book won an award from the Institute for Strategic Studies for containing the best research on security affairs in Israel. In 2008, Issacharoff and Harel published their second book, entitled "34 Days - The Story of the Second Lebanon War," which won the same prize.
Palestinian women bake bread amid the rubble of their destroyed home in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, September 21, 2014. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Support for Hamas and for armed struggle against Israel is gaining popularity in the Palestinian territories, a new survey showed Tuesday, despite languishing rehabilitation efforts in the war-battered Gaza Strip.
The survey, carried out by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, shows that as far as local public opinion is concerned, the latest war in Gaza was a victory for Hamas.
Some 57 percent of those polled claimed that Hamas was victorious — a strong majority, albeit far short of the 70% who thought Hamas had won after 2012’s Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza. Only 8% thought that Israel had won.
Some 53% claimed the recent war achieved the interests of the Palestinian people, while a little more than 21% said that the war damaged those interests.
At the same time Fatah, Hamas’s rival, has weakened while Hamas is getting stronger. Before the conflict began, 41.7% of Palestinians said they trusted Fatah but by the end of the fighting that percentage had slipped to 35.1. On the eve of the war nearly 17% said Hamas was the organization they believed in most, while in the current survey 26% said they believed in Hamas.
Support for the military struggle against Israel rose dramatically — from 31.5% on the eve of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, launched in early July, to 42.7% in the new survey.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is still considered the most popular leader, with 23.3% of Palestinians supporting him, more than any other potential leader. However, that support seems to be wavering as in April the figure was 25.2% while those backing former Hamas prime minister head Ismail Haniyeh grew from 13.5% just before the war to 17.9% in the current survey.
In general, on all questions and matters of current affairs, the residents of the West Bank showed a more extreme point of view compared to those in Gaza.
The survey comes as Gazans are still waiting for reconstruction efforts to begin in earnest in the Strip, over two months after bombs stopped falling during the 50-day war with Israel.
The reconstruction of 17,000 homes that were completely destroyed during Protective Edge has not yet begun, delayed by internal political wrangling.
Two weeks ago, building material was, for the first time, transferred into the Gaza Strip, within the framework of an ambitious rehabilitation plan agreed on by Israel, the UN, and the PA (and indirectly, also Hamas). However, according to reports from Gaza, those materials are mostly still sitting in warehouses in Gaza.
Palestinian workers check bags of cement at a warehouse fitted with security cameras where UN monitors carry out periodic inspections to make sure the materials are not diverted by Hamas for military use, Shejaiyah neighborhood in Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Adel Hana)
According to the agreement, the materials are being monitored with security cameras to make sure that Hamas or other terror groups don’t take them. Thousands of families who were left without homes after the war are still looking for a solution to their distress.
And even though it appeared that a solution was on the way, it seems that a variety of political power struggles are delaying the rehabilitation of Gaza. According to some estimates, 11 United Nations Relief and Works Agency schools are currently housing 40,000 people who lost their homes. Schools that can still be used for studies are hosting pupils from schools that are occupied and are in use for three shifts a day.
Also, the matter of the wages for Hamas government officials has not seen a dramatic change and only a small number of the salaries, delayed since April, have been paid.
The supply of electricity remains intermittent. Gaza residents told The Times of Israel that their homes have electricity for six hours, and after that there is a blackout for 12 hours and then another period of power.