Poll Shows Increased Palestinian Support for Hamas, Violence

IDF image of Beersheba damage from Gaza rockets. Photo Courtesy of IDF Spokesperson.

Buoyed by an overwhelming Palestinian belief that Hamas won the recent round of conflict with Israel, a new poll shows that the terrorist group and its armed conflict with Israel has gained significant ground politically among Palestinians. According to the poll sponsored by Hebrew University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 41 percent of Palestinians now say that “armed attacks on army and settlers” can force Israel to withdraw from territories claimed by the Palestinians.

Just 30 percent believe negotiations can achieve that withdrawal, while 24 percent say peaceful, non-violent resistance can do so. In response to a related question in a poll in 2011, the three answers were basically split evenly around 30 percent apiece.

Furthermore, despite the diplomatic victory achieved by President Mahmoud Abbas to achieve an upgraded status at the United Nations, 60 percent of Palestinians say Hamas’ way is the most effective means to building a Palestinian state. Abbas’ way garners just 28 percent.

The political polling data reflects these results, as Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh would narrowly defeat Abbas if elections were held today. The 48 percent granted Haniyeh is the highest since Hamas won the 2006 parliamentary elections.

Hamas also has gained ground in parliamentary votes: In September the Hebrew University poll showed the Gaza group being supported by just 28 percent, today 35 percent say they would vote for Hamas, although 36 percent still chose Abbas’ Fatah party.

Support for the Clinton/Geneva parameters in a peace plan, a traditional compromise used in the polling, was also down among Palestinians, from 50 percent in December of 2011 to 43 percent now.

By way of contrast, a combined 62 percent of Palestinians did say that the Palestinian aspiration was for the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in some format, compared to a combined 33 percent who said the goal was to take over all the territory of Israel.

The polling, released to the press on Wednesday, was collected face-to-face with Palestinians in mid-December and has a 3 percent margin of error.

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, December 27, 2012)