More Than A Quarter Of All Palestinians Seek Immigration, Poll Finds

More than a quarter of Palestinians seek immigration, poll finds

M&C News
Dec 17, 2007, 15:56 GMT

Ramallah – More than a quarter of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians or some 27 per cent say they cannot take current conditions any more and seek immigration, a public opinion poll published Monday has found.

The poll, conducted by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research, found that only 5 per cent of respondents gave a positive evaluation of economic conditions in the Gaza Strip and 8 per cent described conditions as good or very good.

On the other hand, 47 per cent gave a positive evaluation for economic conditions in the West Bank and only 31 per cent described conditions as good or very good.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) says already bad economic and living conditions due to Israeli closure policy and restriction on movement in the Palestinian areas since late 2000, have worsened with the landslide victory of the Islamic militant group Hamas in legislative elections in January 2006 and its violent takeover of power in the Gaza Strip in June.

Addressing a conference of donors to the Palestinians in Paris on Monday, Acting Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said that 'over the last seven years, the Palestinian economy has been on a continuous decline and by mid 2007 it was on the verge of collapse.'

The poll released Monday also found that Hamas' popularity has declined, owing to what is considered a dismal performance in power and an international embargo imposed on it for not agreeing to recognise Israel and renounce violence.

If new legislative elections were held, said the poll, only 31 per cent would vote for Hamas and 49 per cent for its archrival, President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, which lost the 2006 election due to accusations of corruption and abuse of authority.

Abbas, who has adopted a strong anti-Hamas position since the Gaza takeover, received a 50 per cent approval rating, compared to 45 per cent three months ago. Some 74 per cent opposed the Hamas June military takeover of the Gaza Strip.

But nearly two thirds or 65 per cent of Palestinians believe that chances for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the next five years are slim or non-existent, even though last month's conference on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, held in Annapolis, Maryland, re- launched the peace process and called for establishing an independent Palestinian state by the end of 2008,

The poll interviewed 1,270 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip between December 11 and 16 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 per cent.