The attitudes of Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza have undergone a “paradigm shift” in favor of Hamas, according to a new study.
The survey, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, found that 53 percent of PA Arabs now agree with the statement “Hamas is most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people,” versus only 14 percent who say the same of Fatah, led by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.
The poll was conducted in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip between June 9-12. Sample size was 1,200 adults interviewed face-to-face in 120 random locations. The margin of error was given as 3 percent.
The study also found the “overwhelming majority of Palestinians” (77 percent) believe that Hamas won the recent conflict with Israel. Eighteen percent said neither side won and two percent said both won. Only one percent believed Israel had emerged the victor.
Seventy-two percent of respondents believed Hamas’s claim that it had launched its May 10 attack on Israel to defend Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa mosque. Nine percent said it was a protest against the cancellation by Abbas of the Palestinian Authority parliamentary elections. Sixty-five percent thought Hamas achieved its goal, described by the poll as ending Israeli restrictions on Muslim access to al-Aqsa and stopping the expulsion of Arab families the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
The vast majority, 94 percent, said they were proud of the Gaza Strip’s performance during the May conflict, with 39 percent explaining they were proud because Gaza had delivered a strike in defense of Jerusalem and exposed the weakness of the Israeli army. Another 39 percent said they were proud because Gaza had returned the “Palestinian cause” to the “forefront of Arab and international politics.” Thirteen percent said they were proud because Gaza had suffered with “patience and dignity in defense of Jerusalem.”
The poll also found a spike in support for a return to armed conflict, rising sharply to 60 percent. Support dropped for a return to negotiations as well as in confidence that diplomacy was the most effective means to achieve their goals.