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Hamas Support Surges Among Palestinians Since October 7 Despite High Toll of War

Hamas Support Surges Among Palestinians Since October 7 Despite High Toll of War
Thursday, 14 December 2023 23:01

Palestinian Support for Hamas Surges Post-Oct 7 Despite War Toll

A recent poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) indicates a notable increase in support for Hamas among Palestinians since the Oct 7 attack, even amid the ongoing and brutal conflict with Israel. In the West Bank, 44% of respondents expressed backing for the group, a significant rise from 12% in September. In the Gaza Strip, where over 18,000 casualties have occurred, support increased to 42%, up by 4% from three months ago.

The survey, conducted from Nov 22 to Dec 2, also revealed a 10% growth in support for armed struggle since the conflict began. While the majority of Palestinians do not support Hamas overall, the authors noted that support for the group tends to rise temporarily during or immediately after a war, returning to previous levels several months post-war.

Despite critiques of Hamas governance, with complaints of high taxes, fees, and restrictions on freedoms, a majority of respondents deemed Hamas' decision to launch the Oct 7 attack as correct. In the West Bank, 82% agreed, while in Gaza, the figure stood at 57%. Most surveyed believed the attack was in response to ongoing Israeli assaults and aimed at releasing Palestinian prisoners.

Interestingly, over 90% of respondents disbelieved allegations of atrocities committed by Hamas during the Oct 7 attack, as depicted in online videos. Amid devastating bombardments, Gazans were less optimistic about Hamas' victory, with only half as likely to believe in its success compared to the West Bank residents who estimated a 70% chance. One-third of Gazans anticipated an Israeli victory, contrasting sharply with the 1% in the West Bank.

Palestinian Sentiments: Yemen Emerges as Key Ally, While Saudi Arabia and US Approaches Face Criticism

In the aftermath of Houthi rocket attacks on ships trading with Israel, Yemen has gained considerable favor among Palestinians, earning an 80% approval rating as Palestine's staunchest ally. Conversely, Saudi Arabia garnered only 5% support, marking it as the least favored, and just 1% of respondents endorsed the U.S. approach, particularly disapproving of President Joe Biden's support for Israeli military actions.

The poll also revealed a significant 88% of respondents expressing the desire for Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA), to resign. While previous polls reflected widespread disapproval of Abbas among Palestinians, the U.S. continues to advocate for the PA to eventually assume control of Gaza, alongside the West Bank, as a transitional step toward potential statehood.

Amid ongoing Israeli military raids in Jenin, a city in the West Bank, Thursday marked the third consecutive day of such operations. The toll of the war is evident, with over 3,000 Palestinians arrested in the West Bank and over 250 killed, according to UN estimates. In Gaza, 64% of respondents reported having family members killed or wounded in the Israeli military operation, highlighting the personal impact of the conflict on the population.

These sentiments underscore the complex geopolitical landscape, with shifting alliances and domestic dissatisfaction shaping the perspectives of Palestinians amidst the ongoing regional turmoil.

In conclusion, the poll results offer a snapshot of evolving sentiments within the Palestinian community, revealing nuanced perspectives on regional alliances and leadership. Yemen's emergence as a key ally following Houthi rocket attacks underscores the dynamic nature of geopolitical affiliations, while Saudi Arabia and the U.S. face notable criticism.

The overwhelming desire for Mahmoud Abbas's resignation signals a broader dissatisfaction with leadership, though the U.S. continues to advocate for the Palestinian Authority's expanded role. Against the backdrop of ongoing Israeli military raids and arrests, the personal toll on Palestinians is stark, with a majority in Gaza reporting family members affected by the conflict.

These findings illustrate the complex interplay of political dynamics, public opinion, and the lived experiences of individuals within the Palestinian territories. As the region navigates through the challenges of conflict and shifting alliances, understanding these sentiments becomes crucial for shaping informed and effective policies that address the aspirations and concerns of the Palestinian people.

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