UNRWA’s performance during the 2014 Gaza war

Posted: September 17, 2014 by Rex Brynen in Gaza, UNRWA
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15172098332_5867e977cbThe Center for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies at An-Najah National University conducted a poll of Palestinian public opinion (#49) on 11-13 September 2014, in the aftermath of the recent war in Gaza. It contains some interesting findings regarding the performance of UNRWA and others during the conflict:

poll1

 

poll2

Amongst Gazans who actually experienced the conflict, and who may have used UNRWA shelters or received UN assistance, the approval ratings are high (73.8%), although a significant minority has a negative view. They are also higher in Gaza than for any other actor (unfortunately, no question is asked about the the de facto Hamas government, and it isn’t clear if Gazan respondents understood the “unity government” to include Hamas officials there or the technocratic cabinet in Ramallah).

Interestingly, approval ratings for UNRWA in the West Bank are much lower–possibly indicating a lack of familiarity with what the Agency was doing during the crisis, and/or frustration at the UN’s broader political impotence.

The survey also shows:

  • Most Palestinians (76%), including most Gazans (69%), support rocket fire against Israel if it fails to abide by the terms of the recent ceasefire. The poll also shows that Palestinians view Israel as having initiated the conflict, and are relatively optimistic that the ceasefire agreement will result in some relaxation of the restrictions on Gaza.
  • Weak majority support (56%) for a two state solution. By contrast, there is very little support (26%) for a one state solution in which “Palestinians and Israelis enjoy equal rights.”
  • Almost 30% of Palestinians (including over 45% of Gazans) would consider emigrating.
  • Politically, Hamas and Fateh seem to be tied in terms of popular support.

You’ll find the full poll results here. The al-Najah University polling unit is fairly reliable, although (in my view) by far the best polling continues to be done by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion also did a survey that included a question on UNRWA’s performance back in late August that showed the Agency enjoyed a 71% approval rating. That being said, I generally don’t find PCPO polling to be very reliable (although in this case their findings accord with those of al-Najah).

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