Most Israelis believe the year-old Gaza closure has not been effective, a new poll found.
The poll commissioned by the human rights groups Gisha-Legal Center for Freedom of Movement and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel found that 83 percent of Israelis believe that Hamas has become stronger since the closure of Gaza in June 2007.
Sixty-eight percent of those polled believe Israel’s security has deteriorated since then.
There is little or no chance that Israel’s policy in Gaza will cause the Palestinian population to bring down Hamas, according to 78 percent of the 600 respondents.
Seventy-nine percent believe the closure primarily affects the civilian population in Gaza and causes hardships in the daily lives of the residents. In addition, 60 percent think the closure is making life so hard for Gaza residents that it is likely to push them toward Islamic extremism, compared to 37 percent who did not agree.
Two-thirds of the respondents said the closure is making Israel’s standing in the world worse.
“There is a striking agreement across political and ideological lines that the closure is likely to drive people towards extremism, and there is a strong consensus that the closure primarily affects civilians but is completely ineffective at causing them to change the Hamas regime,” said independent pollster Dahlia Scheindlin.
The poll of Hebrew-speaking Jewish Israelis was conducted June 1-11. It has a margin of error of 4.5 percent.