10/04/2007, 00.00
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If a vote were held now in Gaza, Hamas would lose, survey says

Poll indicates that 42 per cent of Gazans would vote for Fatah, 15 per cent for extremist movement. Most Gaza Strip residents are in favour of a peace deal with Israel and want Hamas to change its stance.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – If a vote were held today most Gazan voters would not cast their ballot for Hamas despite its takeover of the territory in June. A majority is in favour of peace with Israel and opposed to continued rocket attacks against the Jewish state. Most consider Mahmoud Abbas’s government as its legitimate ruling authority, this according to survey conducted in the Gaza Strip by the Ramallah-based Near East Consulting.

The poll indicated that 72 per cent of respondents supported a final peace agreement with Israel, and 55 percent called on Hamas to change its position towards the Jewish state. Hamas opposes peace talks.

More than 70 per cent said they support Abbas' and Marwan Barghouti’s, a Fatah leader jailed in Israel, call for new elections.

Should an election be held now 42 per cent said they would vote for Fatah, with just 15 percent support for Hamas.

It also found 52 percent of respondents consider Abbas' government to be the legitimate Palestinian ruling authority, while only 26 percent favour the Hamas government led by Ismail Haniyeh.

The telephone poll conducted on September 25-27 showed that 86 per cent said they are worried about the economy in Gaza, and 47 per cent said they are thinking of emigrating. In comparison, 33 per cent said they were considering emigration a month earlier.

According to the survey, 58 per cent of respondents said they are now afraid to express their political views following the Hamas takeover, and 60 per cent say Hamas' paramilitary police, known as the Executive Force, has done a poor job respecting individual rights.

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