Poll: Palestinians back Shalit abduction

Survey says 67% of Palestinians support further abductions in current situation.

Gilad Shalit 298 ch 10 (photo credit: Channel 10)
Gilad Shalit 298 ch 10
(photo credit: Channel 10)
An overwhelming majority of Palestinians support the abduction of IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit and the firing of rockets at Israel, according to a public opinion poll published on Sunday by the Jerusalem Media Communications Center. The poll, which was conducted shortly after the kidnapping, also showed that 70 percent of Palestinians believe that Hamas should not release Shalit until Israel agrees to free Palestinian prisoners. The poll covered 1,197 people over age 18 and was held on the basis of face-to-face interviews. More than half of those polled were from the Gaza Strip, where Shalit is being held. A majority of the respondents, 77.2%, expressed support for the Hamas operation that included the abduction of Shalit, while only 21.7% said they opposed it. Also, a majority of 66.8% supported the continuation of such attacks aimed at kidnapping Israeli soldiers, compared with 30.7% who rejected them, saying they were harmful to Palestinian national interests. Significantly, this high support for the abduction comes in spite of the fact that the majority of respondents - 46.7% - expect the crisis to end with losses incurred by the Palestinian side. Moreover, over 60.4% voiced support for the launching of rockets at Israel, while only 36% found them harmful to Palestinian interests. The poll also found that support for Hamas has increased despite international sanctions and the growing violence. If elections were held today, the percentage of Palestinians who would vote for the party would rise slightly, from 30.8% in June 2006 to 33.1%. Support for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party dropped from 33% to 32%, according to the poll.