March 22, 2024 | Flash Brief

Poll: Hamas Remains Popular Among Palestinians

March 22, 2024 | Flash Brief

Poll: Hamas Remains Popular Among Palestinians

Latest Developments

Palestinian support for Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza remains high, according to a Palestinian poll released on March 20. That support has increased since the Iran-backed terrorist group attacked Israel on October 7. The poll, published by the Ramallah-based non-profit Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, also indicates that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and his faction have grown even more unpopular since the war in Gaza started.

Expert Analysis

“I will make this prediction: If Hamas ends up being seen as the winner of the war it started on October 7, support for Hamas among Palestinians will only increase. But if Hamas is seen as losing the war — its military and governing capabilities shattered — support for Hamas among Palestinians will decrease, perhaps sharply. To be clear: If it turns out that Hamas’s invasion of Israel and multiple heinous atrocities have brought Palestinians nothing but hardship, that will not cause Palestinians to embrace Israelis. But it may cause Palestinians to reject Hamas’s strategy of terrorism and genocidal war.” — Cliff May, FDD Founder and President

“While Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels across the Middle East talking about a two-state solution and a Palestinian state, the main impediment to such schemes remains the same: a radicalized Palestinian population that supports terrorism against Israel instead of peacemaking.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“Palestinians are living in another reality — one in which Hamas did not commit atrocities on October 7 and one in which Hamas did not march the Palestinian national project off a cliff. This perception gap will further complicate Israel’s day-after plans.” — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

According to the poll, only seven percent of Gazans blamed Hamas for their suffering. Seventy-one percent of all Palestinians supported Hamas’s decision to attack Israel on October 7 — up 14 points among Gazans and down 11 points among West Bank Palestinians compared to three months ago. Fifty-nine percent of all Palestinians thought Hamas should rule Gaza, and 70 percent were satisfied with the role Hamas has played during the war.

Before October 7, Fatah would have defeated Hamas in a head-to-head vote of all Palestinians 26 to 22 percent. If elections were held today, Fatah would lose to Hamas 17 to 34 percent. Eighty-one percent of respondents were dissatisfied with Abbas, up from 76 percent before the war. Sixty-two percent did not view the recent resignation of former PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh as a sign of reform. And 65 percent of Palestinians think the PA is a burden on the Palestinian people. Among likely voters, 56 percent supported Marwan Barghouti, who is serving multiple life sentences for his role in the murder of Jews during the Second Intifada. Thirty-two percent supported Qatar-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, and 11 percent supported Abbas.

Most Palestinians Do Not Believe Hamas Committed War Crimes

Only 5 percent of Palestinians think Hamas’s massacre on October 7 constitutes a war crime. The poll found that 80 percent of Palestinians have not seen videos of Hamas atrocities, with 60 percent responding that the media they watch did not show them. Relatedly, among those surveyed, Qatar-owned Al-Jazeera was by far the most popular television station, with 61 percent saying it was the channel they watched most over the past two months. Recent reports indicate that a number of Al-Jazeera reporters are also Hamas members. On March 21, Al-Jazeera released a video investigation seeking to minimize Hamas’s brutality on October 7. The program not only insinuated that Israeli soldiers killed Israelis on October 7 but also denied that Hamas used rape as a weapon of war.

Support for Hamas Surges in the West Bank,” FDD Flash Brief

The Palestinian Authority Can’t Govern Gaza After the War,” by Hussain Abdul-Hussain

Al Jazeera should report, not inflame, the Gaza war,” by Hussain Abdul-Hussain

Issues:

Issues:

Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics