According to a public opinion poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 80% of Palestinians backed Cairo’s demand for merging Palestinian security devices under an empowered interior minister, 51% only favored its percent in Gaza.
The survey reflected serious concerns among Palestinians over turning Gaza into a big isolated prison while consolidating Israel’s main settlement interprise in the West Bank.
As well, and according to the director of the center Khalil Shiqaqi, the relative lack of support to the Egyptian presence is due to fears that ‘one occupation would end only for another to begin’
Supporters of Islamic movements were especially concerned that Egyptian presence could tie the movement’s hands, and could turn, in a later stage, into weakening Islamic movements.
Egypt did, in the nineties, quill down the influence of the Islamic movements in Egypt.
The poll as well showed that 55% backed continued military attacks on Israelis from Gaza if Sharon’s ‘disengagement’ did not translate to a complete withdrawal.
35% support Muslim factions Hamas and Islamic Jihad compared to 27% who said that they support Fatah movement.
The support for Islamic movements is much higher in the Gaza Strip than in the West bank. Yet, the decline in support for Fatah is more related to the widespread Palestinian Authority corruption than for political or ideological reasons.
Cairo has offered to send up to 200 security experts to Gaza to supervise reforms in the Palestinian Authority security devices.
‘The militant factions and their supporters do not want an arrangement where they would come under great pressure to give up the right to resort to arms if that arrangement means quiet on solely Israeli terms,’ Shaqaqi said.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has publicly endorsed Egypt’s offer.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has scheduled the Gaza evacuation for 2005, welcomed Egypt’s offer of security advisers but rejected any mediating capacity for Cairo.
The PSR questioned 1,320 people from June 24 to 27 and the poll had a three percent margin of error.