Hamas terrorist leader Ismail Haniyeh would win the majority of votes among Palestinian Arabs if elections for a new president were held now, a current poll demonstrates.
Hamas’s popularity has grown significantly among Arabs living in Palestinian Authority-run territory in Judea and Samaria since the terror group bombarded Israel with missiles from Gaza throughout the summer months.
According to the Palestinian Center for Policy Research, a poll conducted on Tuesday shows that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would receive 61 percent of the vote in that region, if Palestinian unity government elections were held now, as opposed to PA chair Mahmoud Abbas, who would be favored by only 25 percent.
The survey indicates that Haniyeh, in an election encompassing Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, would likely become president, although support for the Hamas leader would be weaker – 53 percent – among the Gaza population; Abbas, it seems would gather 43 percent of the Gaza Arab vote.
Majority of Arabs in PA Territory Approve of Terror
Support for Hamas is at an eight-year high.
The results in Judea and Samaria are significant, since advocates of peace negotiations and territorial compromise have long considered the Arab population in that territory to be moderate. Indeed, the poll also found that a majority of Arabs in the West Bank support terrorism against Jewish communities.
The number of terror incidents from that area has been rising notably in the past couple of months, since the launch of Operation Protective Edge, with many linked to the PA’s military wing.
Abbas’s Plan: Palestinian State within Three Years
Meanwhile, Abbas has been threatening to charge Israel with war crimes at the UN International Criminal Court if the Jewish state refuses to renew peace talks, which would include an agreement to relinquish territory slated for a Palestinian state within three years.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett has been warning against relinquishing territory in Judea and Samaria to the PA, saying that the result would be a rise in terrorism and, in particular, the building of terror tunnels leading to the center of Israel.
On Tuesday, speaking at an economic conference in Tel Aviv, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon stated that a pullout from Judea and Samaria would lead to rockets and mortars fired at Israeli citizens – as happened in the south, following Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. He further warned that it would be easier to hit Ben-Gurion Airport from the West Bank than from Gaza.
The poll included 1,270 participants with a three-percent margin of error.
Author: Atara Beck
Senior Writer/Editor, United with Israel