Poll: Hamas strengthened by prisoner swap

85% say Schalit deal with Israel was good, positively affected their position towards Hamas.

Freed Palestinian prisoners on bus 260 (photo credit: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)
Freed Palestinian prisoners on bus 260
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)
An overwhelming majority of Palestinians, 85 percent, considers the recent prisoner exchange agreement between Israel and Hamas a good thing, according to a poll published on Sunday.
They also say the swap has positively affected the position of most Palestinians toward the Islamist movement.
Analysis: Gilad Schalit is home. Now what? (Premium)
Abbas to build homes for prisoners released for Schalit
The poll, which was conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, covered 1,200 Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and has a 3 percentage point margin of error.
More than 65% of respondents opposed the dissolving of the Palestinian Authority, while 22% said it should be dismantled.
Some PA officials have hinted at the possibility of dismantling the PA in wake of the continued stalemate in the peace process and the failure of the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN Security Council.
Asked how they saw the role of the PA and who it serves, 62% said it serves the interests of the Palestinians, while 24% replied it serves the interests of Israel.
The poll also showed an ongoing drop in Palestinian support for violence. The majority, 56%, said they were opposed to the resumption of “military operations” against Israel, compared to 45% in April 2008.
The number of Palestinians who believe rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip are “harmful” has risen from 35% in 2008 to 40% this year, the poll showed.
The level of confidence in PA President Mahmoud Abbas has also increased from 22% earlier this year to 25% today, and the popularity of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has increased slightly over the past five months.