10 years into the closure of Gaza – a new public opinion poll reveals:

Press release – for immediate release

10 years into the closure of Gaza – a new public opinion poll reveals:

A majority of the Israeli public believes that the government’s policy in Gaza has undermined security; Economic improvements in Gaza would decrease levels of hostility and violence toward Israel

  • Two-thirds of the public believe Israel’s policy in Gaza has undermined security; 69 percent of the public believe that improving living conditions there “serves Israel’s interests.”
  • Fifty-seven percent of the public prefer alleviating restrictions on the civilian population to tightening the closure.

Sunday, February 26, 2017: A public opinion poll commissioned by Gisha reveals that 67 percent of Israelis believe that the closure of Gaza has undermined security. Half of respondents believe that, contrary to Israel’s proclaimed objectives, the closure has strengthened the regime in Gaza.

A large majority of the public (76%) acknowledges that Israel controls sea and air access to the Strip as well as its land crossings, with the exception of Rafah Crossing, and that it controls Gaza’s ability to import and export goods. Half of the public (51%) believe Israel’s control over the Strip, which directly impacts living conditions in Gaza, gives rise to responsibility for the well-being of its residents.

Most respondents (57%) support the position expressed by senior military officials whereby “easing restrictions on Gaza would decrease despair and tension, making the situation less volatile.” Only 41 percent preferred statements made by politicians to the effect that “the more isolated Gaza is and the tighter the closure on it, the more Israel succeeds in reducing the security threat.” With respect to Israel’s policy in the Gaza Strip, most of the public (73%) place more trust in military officials than politicians.

In response to the question of whether an improvement in Gaza’s economic situation would increase hostility and violence toward Israel or decrease it, a clear majority (70%) responded that economic improvement would decrease hostility. An additional 69 percent of respondents think enhancing living conditions in Gaza would serve Israel’s interests, as opposed to a minority of 27 percent who believe this would harm Israel’s interests.

Despite a complete ban on travel of students from Gaza to the West Bank in place since the year 2000, the poll also indicates that a majority of the public (54%) support allowing a student from Gaza who has no security record to reach institutions of higher education in the West Bank.

The poll was designed by public opinion researcher Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin, at the request of Gisha. Responses were collected by New Wave Research of 650 respondents (a representative sample of 500 Jews,150 Arabs).

Dr. Scheindlin explains that, “the government’s policy is not supported by the majority of the public. The public is pragmatic and makes the connection between the needs of the civilian population and the level of tension and violence. Correspondingly, most of the public is prepared to ease restrictions when there is no apparent security threat. The understanding that improving living conditions for Gaza residents serves Israel’s interests is present in all sectors and cuts across political camps and positions.”

Tania Hary, Gisha Executive Director, will present the findings today, February 26th, at the J Street conference in Washington DC: “The public in Israel understands that Israel’s policy on Gaza violates human rights and fails to produce greater stability in the region. Decision-makers in Israel must allow Gaza residents to live their lives with dignity, as every human being deserves.”

List of survey questions and responses on the following pages.

10 years of closure on the Gaza Strip – public opinion poll:
“Gaza in the eyes of Israelis:  Where are we headed?” 

  • Poll commissioned by the human rights organization Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement
  • Poll developed and analyzed by Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin
  • Responses were collected by New Wave Research between December 18-27, 2016
  • Representative sample of 650 respondents (500 Jews in Hebrew, 150 Arabs in Arabic); standard deviation 3.8%-/+ in each direction

Questions and responses*

  1. In your opinion, has Israel’s conduct in Gaza since the disengagement in 2005 improved or worsened the state of security in Israel?
Greatly improved 8%
Slightly improved 22%
Slightly worsened 30%
Greatly worsened 37%
Don’t know/Refuse to answer 3%
—————————————–
Total improved 30%
Total worsened 67%

 

  1. In your opinion, is Israel successful in isolating and weakening Hamas, or does Israel’s conduct in Gaza actually strengthen Hamas?
Greatly weakens 13%
Slightly weakens 36%
Slightly strengthens 27%
Greatly strengthens 22%
Don’t know/Refuse to answer 3%
—————————————–
Total weakens 49%
Total strengthens 49%

 

  1. What is your opinion regarding the following statement: “Israel controls import and export of goods in Gaza, entry and exit of Gaza residents, most crossings with the exception of Rafah, in addition to access by sea and air?”
Certain it is true 32%
Think it is true 44%
Think it is false 15%
Certain it is false 6%
Don’t know/Refuse to answer 3%
—————————————–
Total true 76%
Total false 21%
  1. If it is true that Israel controls movement of people and goods into Gaza, as well as water and electricity supply, how responsible is Israel for the well-being of Gaza residents, or is it not responsible at all?
Greatly responsible 21%
Somewhat responsible 30%
Not really responsible 24%
Not responsible at all 23%
Don’t know/Refuse to answer 2%
—————————————–
Total responsible 51%
Total not responsible 47%

 

  1. Which of the following statements do you find more credible:
  • “Senior IDF officers say that easing restrictions on Gaza would decrease despair and tension, making the situation less volatile.”
  • “Politicians say the more isolated Gaza is and the tighter the closure on it, the more Israel succeeds in decreasing the security threat.”
Senior IDF officers – much more 32%
Senior IDF officers – a little more 24%
Politicians – much more 23%
Politicians– a little more 18%
Don’t know/Refuse to answer 2%
—————————————–
Total first 56%
Total second 41%

 

  1. Generally speaking, who do you find more credible in terms of Israeli policy in Gaza?
Senior IDF officials 73%
Government ministers and the prime minister 20%
Don’t know/Refuse to answer 7%

 

  1. In general, do you think an improvement of living conditions in Gaza serves or harms Israel’s interests?
Serves Israel’s interests 69%
Harms Israel’s interests 27%
Don’t know/Refuse to answer 3%

 

  1. Do you think an improvement of the economic situation in Gaza will increase levels of hostility and violence toward Israel or decrease it?
Increase level of hostility and violence 28%
Decrease level of hostility and violence 70%
Don’t know/Refuse to answer 2%

 

  1. Imagine a 30-year-old woman from Gaza, with no security record, wants to travel to the West Bank/Judea and Samaria to study for an advanced degree at a university there. Given the current state of affairs between Gaza and Israel, what do you think Israel should do?
Allow her to travel to the West Bank to study 54%
Not allow her to travel to the West Bank to study 44%
Don’t know/Refuse to answer 2%

 

*Note on statistics: Display figures do not necessarily add up to 100 percent due to rounding.