The establishment of radical Islamic groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and their participation in the armed struggle against Israel, was the best thing that happened to the Palestinian people since 1948, a public opinion poll published Thursday showed.
The poll, conducted by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, also showed that Palestinian support for the two-state solution remains as low as it was three months ago. Support for a two-state solution stands at 28%, and opposition to it stands at 70%. Three months ago, support for the two-state solution stood at 27%.
In addition, 52% of the Palestinians believe that the armed struggle against Israel is the most effective means to end the Israeli “occupation” and build a Palestinian state. Twenty-one percent said they supported achieving these goals through negotiations, while 22% preferred the “popular resistance.”
The poll of 1,270 Palestinians, who were interviewed face-to-face, has a 3% margin of error.
When asked what has been the most positive or the best thing that has happened to the Palestinian people since the Nakba (catastrophe, the term used by Palestinians to describe the establishment of Israel in 1948), the largest percentage (24%) said it was the establishment of Islamic movements, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad and their participation in the “armed struggle” against Israel. The two Iranian-backed groups were founded in the 1980s.
Twenty-one percent of the respondents said the eruption of the First Intifada in 1987 and the Second Intifada in 2000 was the best thing that happened to the Palestinians. Eighteen percent said the establishment of the PLO in the early 1960s was the best thing that happened to the Palestinians. Fourteen percent said the establishment of the Palestinian Authority after the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 was the most positive thing.
Asked to describe the standing of Israel on its 75th anniversary, 42% of those polled said it was one of the most powerful countries in the world economically and militarily. By contrast, 35% said Israel is a weak and fragmented state on the verge of collapse.
The military and economic power of Israel
Two-thirds (66%) believe Israel will not celebrate its 100th anniversary, the survey indicated.
A vast majority (71%) expressed support for the formation of armed groups such as the Lions’ Den and the Jenin Battalion. More than 85% of the respondents said the PA does not have the right to arrest members of the armed groups to prevent them from carrying out attacks against Israel.
The results also showed that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh remains more popular than PA President Mahmoud Abbas. If presidential elections were held today, Haniyeh would receive 56% of the vote and Abbas 33%.
Asked to name their preferred candidate to succeed the 87-year-old Abbas, 27% chose jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti. Haniyeh came in second, and PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh third.
According to the poll, 80% of the Palestinian public want Abbas to resign, up from 77% in the last poll conducted three months ago.