An overwhelming 92 percent of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip are in favor a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, and 72% hope their leaders will work to achieve a lasting peace agreement with the Jewish state, a new poll has found.
Twenty-five percent of Palestinian respondents to an Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya survey on Gazan attitudes toward Operation Protective Edge said they believe Hamas had won the conflict. Eight percent said Israel was the victor, 14% said it was a draw, and 46% said both sides had lost. Sixty-seven percent said Hamas was not to blame for the destruction in the Gaza Strip, and some 68% said they would prefer the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip over the option of rearming the militant factions there.
The poll was conducted by phone among a representative sample of 525 respondents aged 18 and above, Professor Alex Mintz, the head of the Interdisciplinary Center’s Institute for Police and Strategy, which conducted the survey, told The Times of Israel
A Hamas official declared on Thursday that despite a 72-hour ceasefire and negotiations for a longer-term truce, the war with Israel was not yet done and the organization would continue fighting until all of its demands were met.
Spokesman Mushir al-Masri made the statements at a pro-Hamas rally in the Gaza Strip, attended by a crowd estimated at some two thousand.
In a statement issued Thursday evening, the Hamas military wing threatened to resume rocket fire at 8 a.m. Friday if the blockade of Gaza was not lifted by then.
Israeli officials said Israel was poised to respond as necessary to any resumption of attacks, and was taking the Hamas threats seriously, Channel 2 reported Thursday evening.
On Wednesday, Britain, France and Germany presented Israel with a plan for the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, which calls for the demilitarization of the Palestinian enclave, while at the same time demands Israel ease the blockade of the coastal enclave
The plan also calls for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to return to a position of authority in Gaza, and the possibility of returning the European Union’s Border Assistance Mission, or EUBAM, to the Rafah border crossing to Egypt alongside the Palestinian presidential guard, according to Haaretz. Abbas’s PA was violently ousted by Hamas when the latter group seized control of Gaza in 2007.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday evening said that Israel is cooperating with the Palestinian Authority on the future of Gaza, and “prepared to see a role for them,” but refused to elaborate.
Hamas must be prevented from rearming as part of Gaza’s general demilitarization, Netanyahu said. “That is the sure way to guarantee that this conflict will not repeat itself.”