Support for Hamas and Iran is dropping in Gaza

Poll: 56% of Gazans, 53% of W. Bank Palestinians view Hamas negatively; 60% accept two-state solution but as step towards one-state solution.

Palestinians protest talks 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Palestinians protest talks 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
WASHINGTON – A majority of Palestinians in Gaza don’t like Hamas or Iran, as support for the two entities has continued to drop over the last year, according to a new poll.
At the same time, Fatah gets high approval ratings, with its leaders likely to win elections, as Palestinians back their involvement in peace talks with Israel.
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Still, while most Palestinians said they support a two-state solution, most see that as a step towards eventually having a one-state solution of a Palestinian state.
These results are among the findings from an Israel Project survey conducted between October 4 and 15 and come as negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians have stalled.
According to the poll, 56 percent of Gazans and 53% of West Bank Palestinians think negatively of Hamas in comparison to 28% and 40% respectively who have positive views. The numbers are also down from the 35% and 44% respectively who had favorable views of Hamas in July 2009.
The change comes after the Turkish flotilla incident in May, where a deadly confrontation between the IDF and Turkish civilians trying to break the Gaza blockade eventually led to Israel changing its embargo on Gaza to let in many more goods. The pollsters interpreted the results as a sign that the local population didn’t give Hamas credit for the change in Israel’s approach.
Gazans also equally blamed Israel (46%) and both Israel and Hamas (46%) for their situation. In comparison, while those in the West Bank blamed their own leaders as much as Gazans blamed Hamas (both at 6%), West Bank Palestinians overwhelming blamed Israel (62%) while only 19% blamed both.
Palestinians in both areas dislike Iran more than like it, with 49% in Gaza and 58% in the West Bank having unfavorable attitudes versus 39% and 35% respectively who have favorable attitudes towards them. While Gazans' negative attitudes toward Iran grew from the 44% who had negative views last year, the approval rate also increased from 31% in 2009.
In comparison, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah has a 61% approval rating (60-63 in the West Bank versus Gaza) and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, from a third party, has a 65% approval rating.
In a two-way match-up, the survey finds that Abbas would beat Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh 42-29, including by a margin of 30-26 in Gaza.
Overall, 54% of Palestinians thought peace with Israel was possible with only 43% saying there was no hope, and 61% said they approved of continuing talks with Israel while only 33% disapproved.
Additionally, 60% said they accept a two-state solution with only 36% saying they don’t. However, 60% of those surveyed said they agreed with the statement that “the real goal should be to start with two states but then move to it all being one Palestinian state” with just 30% backing the statement that “the best goal is for a two-state solution that keeps two states living side by side.”
In addition, 56% said the Palestinians would once again have to resort to armed struggle, with only 38% agreeing that violence only hurts the Palestinians and the days of armed struggle are over.
The face-to-face survey was conducted with 538 residents of the West Bank and 316 resident from Gaza by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. It has a +/- 3% margin of error.