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Palestinian fury over Gaza blockade

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Most Palestinians would favour resuming rocket fire at Israel if it does not lift its Gaza blockade, although support for armed confrontation is dropping off, according to a new poll.

“An overwhelming majority of 80 per cent supports the launching of rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israel if the siege and blockade are not ended,” said the survey of 1200 Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research (PSR).

Conducted a month after the end of Israel’s 50-day Gaza military offensive to stop rocket fire, the poll says 44 per cent of respondents saw armed confrontation as the best way to end Israeli occupation and set up a Palestinian state.

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It said that 29 per cent believed negotiations were the best option, while 23 per cent favoured non-violent resistance.

But the poll, carried out between September 25-27 and with a margin of error of three percentage points, reflected a falloff in support both for the Islamist militant movement Hamas which rules Gaza and for violence.

PSR said that in a similar survey a month earlier, in the immediate aftermath of the war, 53 per cent backed armed confrontation.

Asked how they would vote if a general election were held now, 39 per cent of those polled said they would support Hamas, down from 46 per cent a month ago.

The rival Fatah of president Mahmud Abbas would win 36 per cent, up from 31 per cent in August, the survey found.

But in a presidential race, Hamas’s Ismail Haniya would romp home with 55 per cent support compared to 38 per cent for Abbas.

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