As Hamas takes over the reins of power, question marks remain over the future of the peace process with Israel while the prospect of Palestinian statehood seems to many to be more distant than ever.

We often hear comments from politicians, social and religious leaders.

But what do ordinary Palestinians on the street feel?

Aljazeera.net's Laila El-Haddad spoke to nine Gaza residents about their hopes and fears for the future:

Ibrahim Ismail Odeh, 55
Doorman

"Fatah has been around since 1965 and what have they done for us? They brought doomsday upon us. 

I want to see the new Hamas government control the lawlessness, deal with the corruption and bring to account the people who stole our money and jobs. I want national unity for any Palestinian society because it's the best for our interests. But it won't be easy with Fatah and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades - they want a civil war.

I am confident things will go well and the US and Israel will accept the government. I don't care about forgoing US foreign aid. I'll eat weeds and chard if I have to rather than allow Israel and the US to have their way with us."

Rami Balwai, 22
al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Bait Hanun

"Things were better under Fatah. We had money coming in every month, and now the funding has stopped. The Palestinian people chose Hamas and must bear the consequences. So long as Hamas is in any government, there can be no unity. I am worried that Hamas will refuse to negotiate; that it will refuse to recognise Israel. How will the borders remain open if it doesn't negotiate with Israel? 

Hamas has two choices: They either destroy themselves by giving up their charter and betraying the platform they ran on, or they lose funding and people's support. Either way it's a losing game."

Ahlan Imkhayer, 25
CAT scan technician

"I didn't expect this result at all, but I hope our society made the right choice. I hope as much as possible for real, tangible change, and for a resolution to the problem of security - especially as it relates to the lives of young people. 

There is absolute lawlessness and chaos permeating college campuses here. It is in complete disarray, from attendance to lectures, nothing goes according to schedule, and there is a lot of institutional corruption and moral decay. Gunmen hijack the campuses and enforce their own rules. Honestly, we are sick of it. They also need to find jobs for the tens of thousands of young unemployed graduates."

Safiyah Barakat, 50
Livestock merchant

"I want to see Fatah and Hamas get along and deal as a unit with those evil people who are responsible for shooting at people, for wrongdoing, for the lawlessness in our society.

I also want the new government to help the poor, those who can't help themselves or feed themselves. I have 12 heads to feed, including my two married sons who can't support their families. Look at me, thrown on the streets of the suq just to make a living."

Khamees Akeela, 35
Restaurateur

"I hope the situation improves. I would like to see the new government find a solution to the border, so they aren't closing one day and opening the next. 

But above all I want security, safety, and stability. 

I want to live like everyone else. But in order to achieve these things, they must be flexible and be willing to negotiate."

Riyad Ni'mami, 34
Strawberry farmer

"I would like to see the government find a solution to the commercial crossings on which our lives as farmers depend. Now the Israelis close it whenever they like, at a whim, usually to coincide with the harvest. The PA has been around for 12 years and for what? As farmers we've been ruined.  We haven't benefited at all from recent agreements with Israel that would have supposedly kept the commercial crossing open on a consistent basis. 

I voted for the PFLP and would like to see them join forces with Hamas. At this point, any change is good. I am, you can say, a pess-optimist - I am hopeful, but at the same time, I cannot judge what's to come. Things might be worse than before."

Laila Dabbagh, 57
Antiques and handicrafts seller

"If things stay like this, the future is bleak. I don't want anything from the new government. I just ask God to calm the spirits and the situation. They have to deal first with the lawlessness. We need to take the first step. We have to stop firing these rockets. We need to adhere to a period of calm so we can take a step back and assess our situation better. We need to become more stable. 

Right now nothing is in our favour, especially with the US backing Israel. The new government has to face reality. Our problem is not with Israel, it's with ourselves. Why don't the different factions agree with each other instead of digging holes for each other? We're never lived at a worse level.  People are sleeping at night afraid - if not because of Israel shells, then from the lawlessness in the streets." 

Mohammad Hinbawi, 57
Confectioner/Street vendor

"The past government was no help whatsoever for people and their families. We expect this government will be better because they know and fear God's laws. So if aid comes in from foreign governments, we are certain it will get to those who need it this time. I would particularly like to see improvements in the health sector. Under the current system, its all about how important you are and who you know. If a general's son needs care, he gets it instantly. But ordinary people like us? 

I also want them to focus on the unemployment by building factories, so we don't have to depend on the Israeli economy for everything. I want the government to work outside of the framework of dependence on Israel in regards to work and trade and natural resources, such as gas. We should focus on building an independent economy." 

Abeer Abo Shahla, 38
Nursery school director

"I am optimistic about the future. At first I was shocked like everyone else. But when that initial shock faded away I was still hopeful. Safety is the most important thing for me. We've passed through a very difficult period where people can get away with anything - there were days I was afraid my own son might be kidnapped. I hope the new government can deal with this quickly.

I also hope they don't turn to extremism - I was initially afraid they would enforce their strict interpretation on everyone; by closing down restaurants where there are mixed gatherings, or by being selective and discriminatory in whom they choose to employ in their institutions. But now I realise they are more responsible than that."

Interviews and pictures by Laila El-Haddad