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Poll: Palestinians Increasingly Support Terror, Oppose Two-State Solution

A poll of Palestinians residing in both the West Bank and Gaza shows increased support for terror and opposition to the two-state solution, The Times of Israel reported Monday.

A slight majority of 51% said it opposed the two-state solution, while 48% supported it. The figure marks a slight increase in opposition to the idea since June, when 48% opposed the outcome and 51% supported it. …

Support for armed conflict as “the most effective means of establishing a Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel” rose from 36% in June to 42% in the latest poll. Just 29% said negotiations were more effective. …

Hamas’s support has declined in the Gaza Strip from 39% to 34% over the past three months, while Fatah’s declined — from 44% to 37% — but remained ahead of Hamas in the Hamas-ruled territory. In the West Bank, meanwhile, Hamas’s support rose from 32% to 35% since June, while Fatah, which controls the PA government in the West Bank, dropped slightly from 36% to 34%.

The poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, showed that support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has declined from 44% to 38% since June. If elections were held today, he would lose to both convicted murderer Marwan Barghouti, who is currently serving multiple life sentences in Israeli prison, and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Barghouti is the most popular potential successor to Abbas, leading the list with 32% support. Haniyeh is in second place at 19%, and current Palestinian Authority prime minister Rami Hamdallah, largely considered a moderate, garnered just 8% support.

The poll also showed that Hamas and Fatah are less popular in the areas that they rule. Fatah is more popular than Hamas in Gaza by a margin of 37% to 34%, but Hamas is more popular in the West Bank by 35% to 34%. Similarly, 69% of West Bank residents think that that Hamas won last year’s war with Israel, while only 42% of Gaza residents do.

Resident of neither area believe that they have freedom of expression or a free press. 19% of Gaza residents and 23% of West Bank residents believe they have a free press. Only 29% of Gaza residents and 31% of West Bank residents believe that they can safely criticize their governments.

The results of this poll are similar to those of other polls in recent years. A poll commissioned last year by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy found that a majority of Palestinians rejected a two-state solution. A poll at the time showed a majority of Palestinians did not want a return to peace talks with Israel after Abbas torpedoed American-sponsored negotiations.

A poll taken late last year showed that 70% of West Bank Palestinians did not believe that they could speak freely under Abbas. Another poll taken around the same time showed that a majority of Palestinians supported terror attacks against Israelis.

Barghouti’s 55% to 39% advantage over Abbas in this recent poll is an improvement over his 33% to 27% showing in a poll released in May of last year.

[Photo: Hadas Parush / Flash90 ]