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(11/21/07) -

Gaza Government Illegitimate, Say Palestinians

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank decry the government headed by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, according to a poll by An-Najah National University. Only 19.3 per cent of respondents in the Palestinian Territories see Haniyeh’s administration as legitimate.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank decry the government headed by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, according to a poll by An-Najah National University. Only 19.3 per cent of respondents in the Palestinian Territories see Haniyeh’s administration as legitimate.

Conversely, 45.4 per cent of respondents think the Palestinian government led by prime minister Salam Fayyad—which failed to win the confidence of the Palestinian Legislative Council—is the legitimate administration. Roughly three-in-ten respondents believe both governments are unlawful.

Fatah candidate Mahmoud Abbas won the January 2005 presidential ballot in the Palestinian Territories with 62.32 per cent of all cast ballots. In January 2006, Hamas won the Palestinian Legislative Council election, securing 74 of the 112 seats at stake. Haniyeh officially took over as prime minister in March. The Israeli government believes Hamas is directly responsible for the deaths of 377 citizens in a variety of attacks, which include dozens of suicide bombings.

In February, Hamas and Fatah leaders reached an accord which set the guidelines for a power-sharing Palestinian administration, headed by Hamas, which would "respect" past peace agreements with Israel. In June, amid a wave of violent clashes between Palestinian supporters of the Hamas and Fatah factions, Hamas militants seized control of Gaza. Abbas issued a decree to form a 12-member emergency government—based in the West Bank—and expelled Hamas from the administration. Fatah member Fayyad was appointed as prime minister by Abbas.

Both the Hamas de facto administration based in Gaza and the Fayyad government in the West Bank refuse to acknowledge each other. On Nov. 16, Abbas called for Fatah supporters in Gaza to overthrow the Hamas administration, saying, "We have to bring down this bunch, which took over Gaza with armed force and is abusing the sufferings and pains of our people."

Polling Data

There is a Palestinian government led by Ismail Haniyeh that Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas ordered to resign after the June incidents in the Gaza Strip, and there is a Palestinian government led by Salam Fayyad which could not win the confidence of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Which of the two governments do you consider legitimate?

Fayyad’s government

45.4%

Haniyeh’s government

19.3%

Both are illegitimate

29.4%

Source: An-Najah National University
Methodology: Interviews with 1,360 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, conducted from Nov. 15 to Nov. 17, 2007. Margin of error is 3 per cent.