Poll: Palestinians hate Abbas, would vote in Hamas president

Palestinians feel “betrayed” by Israel-Arab peace deals, do not want renewed relations with U.S.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

A Palestinian opinion poll published last week paints a gloomy picture of the Palestinian mood and a dismal outlook for the ruling Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas.

In a searing rejection of the Palestinian leadership, the poll conducted by the respected Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed that if elections for the Palestinian leadership were held now, the head of the Hamas terror group, Ismail Haniyeh, would win a majority of the public vote.

The results show a significant decrease in the percentage of support for the two-state solution compared to the situation three months ago, and broad support for protest against President Donald Trump’s peace plan.

The poll conducted face-to-face interviews of 1,270 respondents in Judea, Samaria and Gaza to gauge their opinion on a variety of topics with a margin of error of three percent.

Asked about relations with the United States, a large majority (71%) are opposed to resuming contacts with the Trump administration, with 61 percent of Palestinians expecting Trump to lose the November election. However, only 21 percent expect things to get better if Joe Biden is in the White House, with 35 percent saying Biden will make things worse for the Palestinians.

Palestinians are gloomy about their prospects. Most (62%) want Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas out and are dissatisfied with the Palestinian Authority’s handling of just about everything ranging from the economy to the coronavirus. Sixty-two percent also say they want the president to resign, while only  31 percent say they want Abbas to remain in office. Three months ago only 58 percent said they wanted the president to resign. Satisfaction with Abbas’ performance stands at 31 percent and dissatisfaction stands at 63 percent.

Eighty percent say that the PA is corrupt and 62 percent say that it has become a burden on the Palestinian people.

Abbas’ waning power in the PA’s territories stems from the difficult economic situation following the cessation of security and civilian coordination with Israel and in view of the PA’s inability to pay salaries and debts to suppliers.

Almost one in four Palestinians (24%) would like to emigrate.

The majority of the public (63%) believes that the recent diplomatic agreements between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel are a central event that constitutes a revolution in the region.

The public agrees (86%) that the agreement serves only the interests of Israel, while only 8 percent claim that it also serves the interests of the Palestinians. The majority of the public (53%) chose the word “betrayal” to describe the agreements, and a small percentage (17%) chose the word “disappointment” for it.

A large majority of 70 percent believes that other Arab countries like Oman, Sudan and Morocco will also soon sign normalization agreements with Israel, an overwhelming majority (80%) believes that Saudi Arabia gave the green light to the UAE to “normalize” with Israel, and (82%) believes that Saudi Arabia will also sign a peace deal.

The findings show that a majority of 53 percent blames the Palestinians themselves for the Israel-UAE-Bahrain peace deal, acknowledging that the Palestinians had normalized relations with Israel in the 1990s and “may have hastened the arrival of this day.”

There is widespread concern among the Palestinian public about the consequences of suspending relations with Israel: 74 percent claim that they fear this will lead to Israel not transferring tax money, which will lead to a cessation of salary payments to PA employees, and 75 percent claim that it will lead to the inability to leave Gaza or Judea and Samaria in order to seek medical care.

For Israel, there’s a bit of good news as the poll showed a slight drop in the desire of Palestinians to take up arms.

In a similar poll three months ago, 38 percent said they prefer waging an armed struggle and 28 percent said that they prefer reaching a peace agreement with Israel. Now, when asked their most preferred way out of the current status quo,  36 percent prefer armed struggle while 27 percent say “reaching a peace agreement with Israel.”

When asked about “the most effective means of ending the Israeli occupation,” 41 percent chose armed struggle, 24 percent negotiations, and 26 percent popular resistance. However, three months ago, 45 percent chose armed struggle and 24 percent negotiations.