Hamas has once again precipitated mass destruction, almost entirely of its own structures and people, and has achieved nothing concrete unless you count a few more miles of fishing rights. The upshot? Hamas’ popularity has surged, at least according to a poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.
The survey finds that 61 percent of Arab residents of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza would pick Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh for unity government president if elections were held today. Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas garners the support of only 32 percent. This was the first time in eight years that Haniyeh has gained majority support in these surveys.
Not surprisingly, Hamas is more popular on the West Bank, which sat out the war, than in Gaza. Haniyeh trounced Abbas in the West Bank, his former stronghold, by a 66-25 margin. In Gaza, the Hamas man’s margin was 53-43.
Abbas had urged Hamas to accept a cease fire before the real war began. He has consistently condemned Hamas for insisting on a fight.
The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research claims to be “independent.” Whether it is or isn’t — and regardless of what “independence” might mean in this context — its surveys do not appear to be biased in favor of Hamas. As noted, Hamas has not necessarily fared well in this outfit’s past polling.
Could it be any clearer that the Palestinian people want war, not peace, with Israel? Could it be any clearer that Israel must not make territorial concessions to a people that favors indiscriminately firing missiles into Israel even when it knows that the response will cost them dearly?
It could not be. Yet, this reality still does not appear to have registered with Barack Obama and John Kerry.