A new poll revealed a recent rise in support among Palestinians for Hamas, the terrorist group controlling the Gaza Strip.
A poll carried out by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between June 9-12, 2021, involved in-person interviews with 1,200 adults in 120 randomly chosen areas. The poll’s margin of error was reportedly +/-3%.
The key findings of the survey revealed that the public’s feelings toward the Palestinian Authority (PA), Hamas, and Israel have changed. The group noted that the findings were not “fundamentally different” from similar results garnered in the past after hostility between Israel and Hamas.
As The Associated Press reported, the lead pollster Khalil Shikaki, who has been conducting surveys to discover Palestinian public opinion for over 20 years, said it was a “dramatic” change, but stated that it is similar to prior results.
The results showed that “53% think Hamas is most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people.”
The responses appeared to display a disapproval of the Palestinian Authority over the postponing of elections in East Jerusalem. The poll found that “65% oppose and 25% support the decision of president Abbas to postpone legislative and presidential elections because Israel refuses to allow the holding of elections in East Jerusalem.” In addition, 69% of respondents said that there should be no waiting for Israel to approve the elections in East Jerusalem and that Palestine should “impose these elections on Israel.”
The poll also found that support for Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has grown, noting that if presidential elections were held today and only two people were nominated, the current president Mahmoud Abbas would get 27% of the vote while Ismail Haniyeh would receive “59% of the votes (compared to 46% for Haniyeh and 47% for Abbas three months ago).”
Regarding the dispute over the eviction of Palestinians from the Shaikh Jarrah neighborhood, the study showed that Palestinians’ expectations from Hamas differ widely from the perception of actions the Palestinian Authority may take.
It noted, “When asked about their expectations from the PA under Abbas leadership in case Israel expelled the Shaikh Jarrah families, the largest percentage (38%) said the PA will do nothing.” Alternatively, “If Israel expels the Shaikh Jarrah families, 77% think Hamas will respond by launching rockets at Israeli cities.”
Considerations about the future of the region were brought up in the poll, as well. The group also “asked the public about its support for the idea of making Jerusalem, both East and West, an open city, whereby the Eastern part would be the capital of the Palestinian state and Western part would be the capital of the state of Israel.” Fewer than a quarter (23%) supported the idea while 73% opposed it.
The majority of respondents also seemed to think that Hamas won the most recent war with Israel, with 77% seeing Hamas as victorious and 1% thinking that Israel won. Notably, “65% think that Hamas has achieved its declared goal behind firing rockets at Israel: to force Israel to stop the expulsion of the families in al Shaikh Jarrah and to bring to an end Israeli restriction on Muslim access to al Aqsa.”
When asked if they are proud of the performance of the Gaza Strip during the most recent war with Israel, “94% say they are proud.” The study noted that when they were asked why they were proud, “39% said they are proud because Gaza has delivered a military and rocket strike in defense of Jerusalem that demonstrated the weakness of the Israeli army; another 39% said they were proud because Gaza has brought the Palestinian cause back to forefront of Arab and international politics; and 13% said the reason they are proud is because Gaza has sacrificed and endured all the death and destruction while expressing patience and dignity in defense of Jerusalem.”