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Post-Gaza war poll: Hamas, Haniyeh and rockets popularity at all-time high

More than two-thirds of Palestinians favor bringing Hamas’ armed resistance model to the West Bank, although majorities in Gaza prefer that the PA take over key aspects of security and governance of Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli military leaders may have boasted of victory over Hamas last week following 50 days of warfare in Gaza, but a new poll shows Hamas with its highest-ever approval ratings among Palestinians since it took control of Gaza in 2006. In contrast, Netanyahu’s approval ratings have plummeted: 50 percent of Israelis said they are dissatisfied with his conduct, compared with an 82-percent approval rating at the beginning of the ground operation in mid-July, according to a Channel 2 poll.

If presidential elections were held today, Hamas leader and former PA prime minister Ismail Haniyeh would defeat Fatah leader and current PA President Mahmoud Abbas by a large margin (61 percent to 32 percent), according to the poll. In addition, for the first time in eight years, Haniyeh would also come in slightly ahead of imprisoned Fatah veteran Marwan Barghouti (49:45), who is serving two life sentences in Israeli prison.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, May 29, 2014 (Screenshot from Palestinian Interior Ministry YouTube)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, May 29, 2014 (Screenshot from Palestinian Interior Ministry YouTube)

The poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) among a sample of 1,270 adults in person in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between August 26-30, 2014, indicates that 79 percent of Palestinians believe Hamas won the war, 94 percent are satisfied with its military performance against Israel and a majority — 53 percent — believes that armed confrontation is the most effective means for establishing a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel.

Eighty-six percent of Palestinians support launching of rockets from Gaza if the siege and blockade are not ended, according to the poll. Half of those polled believe that launching rockets from populated areas is unjustified, but that number increases to 59 percent among Gazans; only 38 percent of those polled in the West Bank believe it is unjustified.

When broken down geographically, Abbas’ approval rating rises in the Gaza Strip to 49 percent but drops to 33 percent in the West Bank. By contrast, Khaled Meshaal’s approval rating drops in the Gaza Strip to 70 percent but rises to 83 percent in the West Bank. (Each is slightly more popular in the territory which they do not actually rule.)

A majority of those polled said they supported the June 2014 kidnapping of the three Israelis in the West Bank at the time (67 percent in Gaza and only 45 percent in the West Bank). A majority of those from the West Bank, however, opposed the killing of the kidnapped Israelis.

Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus demonstrate their support for Hamas resistance in Gaza Strip three days after a deal signed by Israel and Hamas ended a 50-day Israeli attack, August 29, 2014. (Photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus demonstrate their support for Hamas resistance in Gaza Strip three days after a deal signed by Israel and Hamas ended a 50-day Israeli attack, August 29, 2014. (Photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Overall, more than two thirds of those polled in both the West Bank and Gaza favor the transfer of Hamas’ armed resistance approach to the West Bank, although 61 percent believe that massive popular demonstrations could also contribute to ending the Israeli occupation.

Despite Hamas’ overall gains in popularity, in the Gaza Strip alone, the majority want to place the Rafah crossing and the security sector to come under the control of the Palestinian Authority reconciliation government; only a quarter of Gazans want them to remain under Hamas control. These statistics seem to point to overwhelming approval for Hamas as a military force in times of war with Israel, but not when it comes to governance and actual day-to-day rule.

It is important to keep in mind that polls taken during or directly after armed conflict tend to exhibit more extreme results with spikes in various directions, and the pollsters at PCPSR specifically warn that the latest statistics may revert in short time to what they were before the latest confrontation.

Related:
The victors of the Gaza war were also the losers
Five Gaza war takeaways
What if Hamas fired rockets at Britain?

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    1. Matt

      “A majority of those polled said they supported the June 2014 kidnapping of the three Israelis in the West Bank at the time (67 percent in Gaza and only 45 percent in the West Bank). A majority of those from the West Bank, however, opposed the killing of the kidnapped Israelis.”

      In other words, a majority of those in Gaza supported the deliberate cold blooded murder of three kidnapped, unarmed, Israeli teenagers.

      Reply to Comment
      • bor

        Oh come on, Matt, didn’t you see Mairav’s disclaimer?

        “It is important to keep in mind that polls taken during or directly after armed conflict tend to exhibit more extreme results with spikes in various direction.”

        She wrote that not for your benefit, but for those leftist, “progressive” who would normally consider these conclusions to be the purview of murderous lunatics. Oh, and also for some media editors and reporters who wouldn’t know how to spin Israeli “evil” in the face of the evil enmity of its enemies.

        I’ll bet the poll would have ended differently if Israel hadn’t been so cautious about its attacks.

        I’ll bet the results would have been different if Hamas had less support from the reporters who worked in Gaza during the war and their editors.

        I’ll bet that the results would have been different if there wasn’t a scramble in the international community to provide aid to Gaza so they can “rebuild” (meaning, Hamas gets to build more tunnels and build more rockets).

        That’s right, Mairav, you and your friends’ and colleagues’ propaganda is working. Congratulations on ensuring another war.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Munro

      Given the many images and quotes we have seen of Israelis celebrating and relishing the deliberate, cold blooded murder of over 500 Gazan children, even tweeting and wearing t-shirts bragging of the fact, you don’t have a leg to stand on.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Michael W

      “The approval rating for Abbas rises to 49% in the Gaza Strip and drops to 33% in the West Bank. By contrast, Khalid Mish’al’s approval rating drops in the Gaza Strip to 70% and rises to 83% in the West Bank.”

      How can someone approve of both Mish’al and Abbas?

      Reply to Comment
    4. Kolumn8

      During the second intifada 75% of Palestinians supported killing Israeli women and children in restaurants and on buses and suicide bombers were the main heroes. Now its the people digging tunnels and launching rockets. The tactics are different, but the basic principle is the same – Palestinians tend to support whoever is killing Israelis at any specific point in time, regardless of the tactics.

      The polls also demonstrate that there is no fundamental opposition in Palestinian society to Hamas or its tactics. In practice it means that there is a good chance that Hamas would come to power in any Palestinian State, which means that it would be stupid for Israel to agree to any such state in the West Bank.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Pedro X

      “Overall, more than two thirds of those polled in both the West Bank and Gaza favor the transfer of Hamas’ armed resistance approach to the West Bank,”

      This seems more than ample confirmation that peace with the Palestinians is not reachable in the foreseeable future and the Jordan Valley should not be surrendered to people who favor Hamas tactics being transferred to the West Bank.

      Reply to Comment
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