Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90) (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Ismail Haniyeh

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Abbas would lose to Hamas leader Haniyeh if elections were held today.

By: United with Israel Staff

A public opinion poll shows that Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas would lose to the leader of the Islamic terror group Hamas if elections were held today.

The poll conducted by prominent pollster Khalil Shikaki of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) and released Tuesday shows that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would win with 49 percent to Abbas’ 42 percent.

Findings of the last quarter of 2018 indicate a significant increase in Hamas’ popularity in both the PA and the Gaza Strip. Shikaki thinks that the violent confrontations in both the Judea and Samaria area and the Gaza Strip were probably responsible for this change. Moreover, Hamas’ success in ensuring Gazan access to fuel and money to pay the salaries of its former government employees probably contributed to this outcome.

Support for Abbas’ Fatah remains relatively unchanged. However, support for Haniyeh rises in the Gaza Strip while support for Abbas declines in both the PA and the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian elections were last held in 2006 and have been repeatedly delayed since.

Shikaki links the results to what’s perceived as a Hamas win in its latest confrontation with Israel and dissatisfaction with Abbas’ government, particularly over a new social security law.

The majority of Palestinians views the results of the last confrontation between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip as a victory for Hamas. However, the public tends to believe that the current ceasefire in the Gaza Strip will collapse shortly and that such a collapse will lead to a wide scale war.

Findings regarding the peace process indicate a significant decline in support for the two-state solution and a considerable rise in support for an armed intifada against Israel. Likewise, an overwhelming majority believes that the Trump Administration is not serious about promoting peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

For this reason, three-quarters of the Palestinians demand a rejection of the Trump plan. But findings also indicate that a large minority believes that the US mediation is indispensable for any peace negotiations with Israel.

The poll interviewed 1,200 people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and had a 3 percent margin of error.

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