A recent poll shows Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh would win elections in both Gaza and the West Bank over Palestinian Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas if elections were held today.
Abbas, the elected Palestinian leader of the West Bank, has taken a more conciliatory tone towards Israel and the US and has made efforts to decrease Palestinian terrorist acts against children. Hamas, on the other hand, is the elected group in Gaza; it has denounced Israel’s right to exist and openly advocates the targeting of Israeli children for slaughter.
The divisions between Hamas and Fatah escalated into a budding civil war in 2007, as Hamas violently took over Gaza. After the violent takeover, the Palestinians of Gaza have given Hamas overwhelming support.
The recent poll was conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Policy and Survey Research. It found that 48% of the West Bank and Gaza electorate favor Hamas’ leader, while Abbas only received 45%. A similar survey from September had Hamas’ leader at 40% and Abbas at 51%.
With 48% of Palestinians supporting a militant group who advocates and participates in the act of intentionally killing children as war trophies, some Israeli groups have expressed concerns.
It’s yet to be seen whether this new data will influence the American Left, where 47% of Democrats support and sympathize with the Palestinian side of the struggle as opposed to Israel.
The US suffered a recent tragedy in which 26 people were killed, 20 of them small children, and intentionally targeted by a madman. It is possible that the American left will rethink its support of Hamas due to the intentional targeting of Israeli children for murder.
Israeli officials, on the other hand, are showing signs of rethinking their efforts to make peace in light of the fact that so many Palestinians support the murderous Hamas. Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said in a recent interview, “The support for Hamas is over-rated, and Hamas has not gained anything for the Palestinians, but the confrontational approach is gaining ground, and nobody is interested in negotiations with Israel.”
It remains to be seen what effects the increased support for Hamas’ militancy among Palestinians will have on the internal politics of Israel and the attitudes of its populace.