Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and his chief peace negotiator, Saeb Erekat, in Ramallah.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A majority or Palestinians still support a two-state solution with Israel while Hamas's popularity in Gaza is dropping, according to a new poll released on Thursday by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.
According to the poll, 53 percent of Palestinians support a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict with Israel, while 46% oppose it. Moreover, there has been a drop in support for armed confrontation from 53% last month, which was taken directly after the 50-day summer war in Gaza, to 44% the new poll found.
However, while the survey found that the majority of Palestinians support a two-state solution, only 60% of those questioned believe the two-state solution is still practical due to "Israeli settlement expansion." Nevertheless, 71% are against abandoning the two-state solution altogether.
One of the poll's most notable findings was that only 40% of Palestinians have heard of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ plan to set a deadline
for ending the "occupation" and building a Palestinian state without negotiations with Israel via the United Nations, which was announced last month. For those who know about the plan, 72% said they support it and 25% stated they oppose it.
Hamas losing support
The new poll provides insight into the decreasing support for Hamas in Gaza as conditions in the Strip remain dismal following the seven-week conflict between Hamas and Israel this summer, known as "Operation Protective Edge," in which Hamas claimed victory in breaking the "siege" of Gaza.
Belief that Hamas was the victor in this summer's war with Israel dropped from 79% last month to 69% in the new poll, and in the Gaza Strip, only 58% believe Hamas came out a winner.
However, satisfaction with the war's outcome increased in the West Bank to 53%, while it lowered in Gaza to 41%.
Despite the fall in Hamas's popularity, 80% of Palestinians still support the launching of rockets from Gaza into Israel if the "siege and blockade are not ended."
However, in another disparity between Gaza and the West Bank, belief in the legitimacy of firing rockets from populated territories dropped in Gaza to 48%, while it increased in the West Bank to 62%. Moreover, the opposition to disarming Gazan armed groups increased in the West Bank to 53% while it dropped in the coastal enclave to 42%.
Although Hamas's support is apparently dwindling, the poll found that if legislative elections were held, Hamas would likely win the majority of the vote, with 39% of Palestinians saying they would vote for Hamas and 36% saying they would vote for Fatah.
The poll was conducted between 25-27 of September 2014 with 1200 adults interviewed face to face in Gaza and the West Bank. The Margin of error is 3%.