Palestinian majority want Abbas to resign

A majority of Palestinians believe that neither Hamas nor the ruling Fatah faction headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas deserve to represent and lead the Palestinian people, according to a public opinion poll published over the weekend.

While 33% of those polled said that neither side deserves such a role, the largest percentage (31%) believe that Hamas is most deserving of representing and leading them. 

The poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR), also showed that if new presidential elections were held today, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would defeat the 86-year-old Abbas.

Twenty-nine percent think that Fatah under the Abbas is the most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinians. 

The poll, conducted March 16-20, covered 1,200 Palestinians and has a three percent margin of error.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is carried during a visit to the Ain el Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon in September 2020. (credit: AZIZ TAHER/REUTERS)Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is carried during a visit to the Ain el Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon in September 2020.

If new presidential elections were held today and only two were nominated – Abbas and Haniyeh – the Hamas leader would receive 54% of the votes, while the PA president would get 38%.

The last poll conducted by PCPSR gave Haniyeh 58% and Abbas 35%.

Barghouti would receive 59% of the votes, as opposed to 37% for the Hamas leader.

The poll found that 73% of respondents want Abbas to resign. Three months ago, 74% said that they want him to step down. Demand for Abbas’s resignation stands at 71% in the West Bank and 76% in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

But if new parliamentary elections were held today, 36% said that they will vote for Hamas and 42% for Fatah. The last survey gave Hamas 38% and Fatah 35%.

Explaining the rise in Fatah’s popularity, the center said that the results of the first quarter of 2022 indicate a return to the internal balance of power between Fatah and Hamas, as the case was before the May 2021 Israel-Hamas war.

“It is noticeable that Fatah’s popularity is rising equally in the West Bank and Gaza Strip,” the center pointed out. “The rise might be linked to two things: the success of the so-called confidence-building steps between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, and Hamas’s inability to translate the gains it made in the war to positive change on the ground.”

The presidential and parliamentary elections were supposed to take place in May and July 2021, but were called off by Abbas.

The poll found that 60% of the Palestinians support the suspension of PLO recognition of Israel. Another 61% support the suspension of all agreements with Israel, including security coordination between the PA and the IDF in the West Bank.

However, most Palestinians said they believed that the recent decisions by the PLO to suspend PLO recognition of Israel and halt the security coordination would not be implemented.

A majority of 60% believes that the two-state solution is no longer practical or feasible due to the expansion of Israeli settlements, while 36% believe that the solution remains practical, the poll showed. 

Moreover, 68% believe that the chances for the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel in the next five years are slim or nonexistent.

When asked about the most effective means of “ending the Israeli occupation and building an independent state,” the public split into three groups: 44% chose “armed struggle,” 25% negotiations, and 24% “popular resistance.”

Additionally, a majority of 70% opposes an unconditional resumption of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. Another 64% are opposed to a dialogue with the US administration under President Joe Biden. 

The results also indicated that a large majority of the Palestinian public wants the PA to take a neutral position in the Russia-Ukraine war, although more people blame Russia for starting the war.

The results of the poll showed that 84% of the Palestinians see the PA institutions as corrupt, while nearly 70% said that there is corruption in Hamas-controlled institutions.

Arab Observer

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