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Two thirds of Arabs in West Bank and Gaza favor radical Hamas over moderate Fatah

By Mason White 11:14 AM September 3, 2014
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By: Ze’ev Ben-Yechiel
A new poll showed that the majority of Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza, favor a radical over a moderate government, the Tazpit News Agency reported.

Support for Hamas has surged following Operation Protective Edge, according to the results of a survey published on Tuesday.

The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) found that 61 percent of those polled would choose Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh over Mahmoud Abbas. Only 32 percent said they would vote for Abbas.

The poll of 1,270 Arabs in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, began on August 26, the last day of this summer’s war, and continued over the next four days. It showed an increase in support for the terror group over the course of the war.

Some 79 percent surveyed in this poll said that they believe that Hamas won the Gaza war, and it may have been this perception that led 72 percent of respondents to say that they support Hamas’ approach of violent resistance and would like to see it implemented in the West Bank.

“Indeed, an overwhelming majority of Arabs in the West Bank, wants to transfer ‘Hamas’ way to the West Bank and rejects the demand to disarm the Islamist group or to disband the other Gazan armed groups,” read the report from the PCPSR.

The group also reported that for the first time in eight years, more people voiced support for Haniyeh than for Marwan Barghouti, the arch-terrorist currently serving 67 consecutive life sentences in an Israeli prison and for years the most consistently popular political figure among Arabs in Judea and Samaria.

86 percent of respondents said that they support the renewal of rocket attacks on Israel if Hamas’ demands are not met. Of those polled, roughly 40 percent were residents of the Gaza Strip and 60 percent were from Judea and Samaria, PCPSR told the Tazpit News Agency.

Of all respondents, 54 percent said that they supported the murder of the three kidnapped Israeli teens, while 42 percent opposed it.

Among Gazans, 69 percent said they supported the killings, while only 42 percent of Judea and Samaria residents were in favor and 52 percent against the murders.

Professor Mordechai Kedar, a scholar of Arabic literature and lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, believes that support for Hamas is much higher in Judea and Samaria than in Gaza.

“The West Bank doesn’t suffer from Hamas, so they have the luxury of supporting the group. On the other hand, he added, they do suffer from the current Abbas administration,” Kedar said.