Majority of Arab world feels psychological stress over Israel-Gaza war: Poll

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Almost all of those quizzed in the Arab world are experiencing some level of psychological stress over the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, and the majority express solidarity with Palestinian people, a poll has found.

The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies carried out a public opinion poll on a sample of 8,000 men and women across 16 Arab countries on the ongoing conflict after Hamas’ invasion of Israel on October 7.

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It found 97 percent of respondents expressing psychological stress to varying degrees because of the war in Gaza, and 84 percent expressed a sense of great psychological stress.

About 80 percent of respondents reported that they regularly follow news of the war, compared to seven percent who said that they do not follow it, a further indication that the Arab public sees this war as a local event. To access the news, 54 percent of respondents relied on television, compared to 43 percent who relied on the internet.

Solidarity with Palestinians

An Arab consensus of 92 percent expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza. The same percentage of people believe that the Palestinian question concerns all Arabs and not just Palestinians.

Conversely, the report found that six percent think the war concerns only the Palestinians and they alone must work to solve it.

When asked about the measures Arab governments should take in order to stop the war in Gaza, 36 percent of respondents stated that Arab governments should suspend all relations or normalization processes with Israel, while 14 percent stated that aid and support should be brought into Gaza without Israeli approval, and 11 percent said that the Arab governments should use oil as a weapon to assert pressure on Israel and its supporters.

A further 60 percent of Palestinian respondents in the West Bank said that they had been subjected to or were witnesses to raids by the occupation army forces, while 44 percent said that they were subjected to arrest or interrogation by the Israeli army, and 22 percent reported that they were subjected to harassment by settlers.

The survey was carried out between December 12, 2023 and January 5, 2024 in Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and the West Bank, Palestine (including Jerusalem).

On Wednesday, the Gaza-based health ministry said the Palestinian death toll from Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip had risen to 23,357, with 59,410 people wounded, since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict on October 7,

It said about 1.9 million people of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million are displaced as entire neighborhoods have been leveled by the Israeli bombardments.

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