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Political Analysis: The Palestinian People Voted For the Resistance

The latest opinion polls in the West Bank (WB) and Gaza Strip (GS) show a significant rise in the popularity of the Hamas movement and increasing public support for the armed resistance. Despite the horrific massacres and immense destruction caused by the Israeli occupation in its aggression on GS, it has miserably failed to isolate Hamas and the resistance forces from the Palestinian popular base.

Support for Operation Al-Aqsa Flood:

The survey conducted by the Palestinian Center for Political and Survey Research in collaboration with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, whose results were released on 13/12/2023, covering public opinion in WB and GS, reveals that 72% of Palestinians believe that Hamas’ decision to launch the attack and initiate Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on October 7th was correct. Additionally, 62% believe that Hamas will emerge victorious from this battle, and 72% expect that Hamas will succeed in returning to rule over GS after the war, despite Israel’s declared objective to eradicate it. This aligns with the majority opinion of 73% that Israel will not succeed in causing a second Nakbah. Furthermore, an overwhelming majority of 85% assert that Israel will fail to expelling Gazans out of the Strip.

Notably, these results, indicating high confidence in Hamas and the resistance, emerged in an atmosphere where opinions were sought at the peak of a fierce onslaught on GS. Israel, whose army is considered one of the strongest globally, allied with major powers, including the United States, against resistance forces with very limited military capabilities compared to their adversaries, living in a besieged and impoverished environment. These opinions were gathered after more than 15 thousand Palestinian, including over six thousand children and four thousand women, were killed, and 36 thousand were injured, with approximately two-thirds of the GS population displaced. At a time when 56% of the survey participants from the GS state that they do not have enough food for a day or two, 64% of them confirm that a family member was killed or injured in this war.

Between the performance of the Ramallah Authority and Hamas:

According to the survey, 60% of the Palestinian public prefers Hamas control of GS after the war, while only 16% prefer the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA) with a national unity government, excluding President Mahmud ‘Abbas. Only 7% favor the PA led by ‘Abbas. This is a shocking percentage for the Ramallah Authority and President ‘Abbas, considering that the national unity government used to enjoy wide popularity. 72% of the public is satisfied with the role of Hamas during the war on GS, while only 14% are satisfied with the PA role. Additionally, 69% are satisfied with the role played by Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in GS, compared to only 11% satisfied with ‘Abbas’ role.

On the other hand, 68% of the public believes that the PA has become a burden on the Palestinian people, and 58% supported dissolving it. Only a minority of 20% believed that negotiations were the best way to end occupation and establish an independent state, while a majority of 69% supports a return to uprising and armed resistance.

88% want ‘Abbas to resign, and this percentage rises among the WB residents, where this demand stands at 92%. This indicates an overwhelming majority no longer wishes him to remain in power, a desire that has been expressed in previous surveys but has reached a high peak in this one. This may explain the current regional and international discussions that suggest ‘Abbas is no longer fit to lead in the coming phase, and that an alternative must be sought. Some even discuss the possibility of releasing Fatah leader Marwan al-Barghouti from Israeli prisons, considering him the only qualified person to unite Fatah in the face of the rising popularity of Hamas.

Presidential and legislative elections:

Consistent with the survey results, if presidential elections were held in a competition between Fatah leader Mahmud ‘Abbas and Hamas leader Isma‘il Haniyyah, the latter would receive 78% of the votes compared to only 16% for ‘Abbas. Fatah has no chance of winning the presidency unless Marwan al-Barghouti participates, in which case he would receive 47% compared to 43% for Haniyyah and only 7% for ‘Abbas.

If legislative elections were held, 51% would vote for the Hamas list (Change and Reform) compared to 19% for the Fatah list, and all other lists combined would receive only 4%. It is noteworthy that 25% have not yet decided, and when these undecided voters make their choice, they will likely choose between Hamas and Fatah, as in previous experiences. This means that Hamas’s chance of achieving a percentage exceeding 60% is very high. This indicator, which surpasses the decisive percentage and shows Hamas reaching over 60% for the first time, gives a strong indication of the impact of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood and the extent of the popularity enjoyed by resistance work when it takes its strong and effective form.

This survey indicates that the Israeli aggression has failed to break the will of the Palestinian people. The massacres committed against civilians and the immense destruction have not been able to separate the armed resistance from its popular base. Instead, the aggression has had the opposite effect, increasing the Palestinian people’s support for the resistance. The desire for sacrifice and revenge for those killed has grown, and the crimes of the occupation have become fuel for the revolution, sustaining its momentum.
This survey reinforces the general Palestinian trend that has appeared in previous polls, where there is a loss of hope in the peace process. Many Palestinians no longer see a real opportunity for achieving a “two-state solution,” especially in light of the rise of Israeli religious and nationalist extremism, the expansion of Judaization and settlement programs. They believe that the only language the occupation understands is armed resistance.

The survey strongly and repeatedly raises the question of the legitimacy of the current Palestinian leadership, which has lost the trust of the Palestinian street. There is a growing consensus on the need for a transitional leadership to prepare for genuine elections, rebuilding Palestinian legislative and executive institutions on fair and sound foundations that truly reflect the will of the Palestinian people.


Prof. Dr. Mohsen Mohammad SalehDirector of Al Zaitouna Centre for Studies, Beirut

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