Photo Credit: Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90
PA Arabs protest police killing of human rights activist Nizar Banat in Hebron, July 2, 2021.

The latest poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip between September 15 and 18, 2021, shows the centrality of domestic issues on shaping public attitudes among PA and Gaza Arabs.

These developments, in particular, are noteworthy: the killing of the political activist Nizar Banat by PA security services; the way PA security services dealt with protests during the last few months; and the residual impact of the Hamas-Israel confrontation of May 2021; the great importance attached by the Arab public to the issue of prisoners in Israeli jails.

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As a result of all of the above, the poll’s findings reflect continued PA loss of status and support.

The total size of the sample is 1270 adults interviewed face to face in 127 randomly selected locations. The margin of error is +/-3%.

Here are some of the results:

Prisoners escape from the Gilboa prison:

  • An overwhelming majority of Palestinians (86%) says that it has heard about and followed on daily basis the news about the escape of the six Palestinian prisoners from the Gilboa prison in Israel and the capture of some of them while 12% say they did that occasionally and only 2% say they have not heard about or followed the news
  • Similarly, 87% say the escape of the six prisoners and the capture of some of them will serve as an inspiration to Palestinians outside the prison to take the initiative and actively work toward the ending of occupation; only 7% think the escape and capture will have the opposite impact of bringing frustration and despair; 5% say it will have no impact.
  • 81% believe that Hamas will soon succeed in making a deal with Israel on a prisoners’ exchange that will include the release of the escaped and recaptured prisoners; 14% believe no such exchange will take place soon.
  • On the other hand, if the escaped prisoners managed to reach the Palestinian territories, only 24% think the PA security services would in this case protect them while 68% think they would not do so.

The death of Nizar Banat:

  • A majority of 63% of the public believes that the killing of Nizar Banat soon after his arrest by PA security officials was a deliberate measure ordered by the PA political or security leaders while only 22% believe it was an unintentional mistake by those who arrested him.
  • 63% support and 28% oppose the demonstrations that erupted after the death of Banat demanding the departure of the president from office and the removal of his government.
  • A large majority of 69% feels the measures take by the PA to ensure justice in the Banat case, including putting on trial all 14 security officials who took part in his arrest, are insufficient; only 20% think they are sufficient.
  • Almost three-quarters (74%) believe the steps taken by the PA security services in arresting the demonstrators who demanded justice for Banat is a violation of liberties and human rights while only 18% view these measures as legitimate enforcement of law and order.

Three months after the Jerusalem confrontations and the war between Hamas and Israel:

  • An overwhelming majority of Palestinians (71%) believe that Hamas has come out a winner in its last war with Israel while only 3% think Israel came out a winner; 21% say no one came out a winner and 3% think both sides came out winners. Three months ago, 77% thought Hamas came out the winner. Moreover, 63% think that Hamas has achieved its declared goal behind firing rockets at Israel: to force Israel to stop the expulsion of the families in Sheikh Jarrah and to bring to an end Israeli restriction on Muslim access to al Aqsa; 29% think it did not. Three months ago, 65% said Hamas has achieved its declared goal.
  • 67% think that Hamas’ decision to launch rockets at Israeli cities came in defense of Jerusalem and al Aqsa Mosque while 10% think it came as a protest against the PA cancelation of elections to weaken the PA leadership; 19% think Hamas’ decision was motivated by these two drivers. Three months ago, 72% thought that Hamas’ decision came in defense of Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque.
  • In light of the recent confrontations with Israel, 45% think Hamas is most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people while only 19% think Fatah under president Abbas is the most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinians; 28% think neither side deserve such a role. Three months ago, 53% thought Hamas is more deserving of representation and leadership and 14% thought Fatah under the leadership of Abbas is the more deserving.
  • If Israel expels the families of Sheikh Jarrah or reimposes restrictions on access to al Aqsa Mosque, 60% believe the response, in this case, should be the launching of rockets at Israeli cities, while 20% think it should be the waging of non-violent resistance, and 13% believe Palestinians should respond by submitting a complaint to the UN and the International Criminal Court (ICC).
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David writes news at JewishPress.com.