For Palestinians in Gaza, a coming choice

A new survey of 173 countries might be a helpful guide for the coming decision on who will rule the Gaza Strip if Israel’s military takes over the enclave of 2 million Palestinians. While the survey, by a Sweden-based think tank, confirms a steady decline in democracy worldwide, it also notes a countervailing trend – or “green shoots” – in a number of places where citizens have lately achieved lower levels of corruption.

For Palestinians in Gaza, such a hopeful sign of the irrepressible desire for clean governance could be a starting point in creating a new democracy.

Polls bear this out. Just months before the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas, an opinion survey found that 73% of Gaza residents believed the Hamas government to be corrupt. And that percentage had been rising, which may help explain one possible reason why the Islamist group launched the attack on Israeli civilians to provoke a response. After previous conflicts with Israel, Hamas’ popularity rose, even if temporarily, until Palestinians in Gaza again noticed corruption in their public institutions.

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