A Palestinian Arab polling organization found that the popularity of the genocidal terrorist organization Hamas rose amongst Palestinian Arabs following this summer’s war against Israel.
For those who were hoping that mounting deaths and destruction of their own people will have a moderating effect on the Arabs who live in the Middle East, start barking up a different tree. In fact, a recent poll shows that the vast majority of Arabs in the region (72 percent) actually prefer to have the PA run the territory for which they are responsible the way Hamas runs it in Gaza.
Rockets and violence over diplomacy and passivity is the Palestinian Arab ruling style of choice, as reflected in this latest poll.
During the 50-day summer of 2014 war, more than 2000 of their own people died and many apartment buildings and some entire neighborhoods were destroyed at least largely because the Hamas fighters shot from residential neighborhoods. Nonetheless, such death and destruction actually led to a dramatic increase in popularity for Hamas’s leadership and mode of governance.
In fact, fewer than five percent of Palestinian Arabs believed that Israel “won” the war. In contrast, nearly four out of five respondents believe Hamas was the winner in this summer’s war between Gaza and Israel.
The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research learned through its poll that if elections were to be held now, well more than half of all Palestinian Arabs (61 percent) would vote for Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to lead their people, while only 32 percent would vote for Mahmoud Abbas, the current acting leader of the Palestinian Authority.
While a 61 percent approval rating sounds high, it is even more impressive – if that’s the right word – considering that it is a 20 percentage point surge since June, that is, before this summer’s war. And before the war, those who favored Abbas was 20 percentage points higher. The percentage of Arabs who live in what they call the “West Bank” who would vote for Hamas’s Haniyeh comes in at 66 percent, which is even higher than his standing in Gaza (53 percent).
In fact, this summer’s Gaza war increased Haniyeh’s popularity so much that if he ran against the perennially popular Fatah member Marwan Barghouti, Haniyeh would best Barghouti 49 percent to 45 percent. And, if there were a three-way political race, Abbas would draw down support from Barghouti, so that Haniyeh would prevail decisively with 48% of the vote. Barghouti would receive only 29 percent of the vote, and Abbas only 19% in a three-way vote.
If ever there were an example of perception dictating reality, the vast disparity in the raw numbers of dead on each side did nothing to dissuade the Palestinian Arabs from believing the Hamas war machine was effective in fighting Israel’s Defense Force (94 percent).
Hamas was viewed favorably both in terms of its offense against Israel, but also on defense. Nearly four-fifths of all Palestinian Arabs were satisfied with Hamas’s defense of Gazan civilians during the war (78 percent).
Perhaps the one poll result that will surprise nobody is that nearly nine out of ten Arabs in the region were satisfied with the Gazan leadership’s media and communication performance.
The poll was taken following the cessation of hostilities, and included 1,270 Palestinian Arabs from throughout the territories in which they live.
Lori Lowenthal Marcus
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the U.S. correspondent for The Jewish Press. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com
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