Poll: Hamas leader would win Palestinian elections

If the Palestinians held elections, the leader of the Hamas terror group would defeat current PA President Mahmoud Abbas, according to a new poll.

By Associated Press and World Israel News Staff

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

The Palestinians last held elections 13 years ago, with Abbas extending his original four-year term indefinitely.

The survey, conducted by pollster Khalil Shikaki and released Tuesday, shows that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would win with 49 percent to Abbas’ 42 percent.

Shikaki links the results to Hamas’ increasingly confrontational posture with Israel.

Hamas’ approach includes deadly rocket attacks on civilians, a wave of arson terror that destroyed thousands of acres of Israeli land and nature preserves, and a campaign of violent riots on the Gaza border in which human shields are used to launch infiltration attempts.

Shikaki also identified dissatisfaction with Abbas’ government, particularly over a new social security law, as a significant factor in the polls’ results.

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

Abbas’ Fatah faction and Hamas have waged a bloody feud for the past decade. Meanwhile, Palestinian elections continue to be delayed.

Read  Hamas, Israeli officials confirm deal nearly reached for release of 50-100 hostages