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The View From Gaza

Amaney Jamal
Amaney Jamal and her researchers found a grim picture in their polling work: a hungry and desperately poor population that didn’t much trust their political leadership in Hamas, nor did they see much of a future for themselves and their children. Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images
Julia Ioffe
February 13, 2024

On October 6, 2023, political scientist Amaney Jamal and her researchers at the Arab Barometer wrapped up their polling work in Gaza. They found a grim picture: a hungry and desperately poor population that didn’t much trust their political leadership in Hamas, nor did they see much of a future for themselves and their children. In the West Bank, the land that would theoretically constitute a Palestinian state kept getting occupied and balkanized by Israeli settlements, to the point where Amaney found a two-state solution became a harder and harder policy position to advocate. 

“On October 6th, 2023, things weren’t looking really great,” Jamal, who is also the dean of Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs, told me. But what happened afterward dwarfed all the suffering and frustration her team had witnessed until that point. “Had you told me, ‘Oh, this massive attack on Israel, it’s going to happen where Hamas penetrates the border and kills 1,200 people, including children, and takes all these hostages and brings them across the border’? I could say confidently, for the average Palestinian, that is just like, with all due respect, something coming out of science fiction.”