Palestinians' backing for terror rises

Poll published over the weekend finds Hamas PM Haniyeh more popular than PA President Abbas.

Haniyeh  224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Haniyeh 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The number of Palestinians who support attacks against Israelis continues to rise and more than half of them favor suicide bombings, according to a poll published this weekend. The survey also showed that Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is still more popular than Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The percentage of Palestinians who support "resistance operations" against Israeli targets rose from 43.1 percent in September 2006 to 49.5% at present. Support for this option was highest in the Gaza Strip, at 58.1%, with 24.5% in the West Bank agreeing. Palestinians who support bombing attacks against Israeli civilians rose from 44.8% in June 2006 to 48% in September 2006 and to 50.7% now. Again, more Gazans support these operations (65.1%), compared with 42.3% of Palestinians in the West Bank. The Palestinian public is divided on the rocket attacks on Israel: 39.3% said the firing of these rockets was "useful" to Palestinian national interests, while 35.7% said they were harmful. The poll results showed a general feeling of frustration with regards to the future of the Palestinian cause and the peace process in light of the ongoing Israeli military operations and the split between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Both Fatah and Hamas continue to lose support among the Palestinians, and the level of trust in political leaders also dropped. Support for Abbas fell from 18.3% in November to 11.7% this month. The poll also showed that fewer Palestinians are satisfied with Abbas's performance. Support for Haniyeh also went down, from 16.3% in November to 13.3% this month. The same applies to Fatah's imprisoned leader, Marwan Barghouti, whose popularity moved down from 14.3% to 12.8% during the same period. With regards to confidence in the political parties, support for Fatah decreased from 40% in November to 32.5% this month, while Hamas's popularity went down from 19.7% to 17.8%. The poll, conducted by the Jerusalem Media & Communications Center, covered 1,190 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points. It was held from April 8-13.