Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House in Washington on June 9, 2010. Photo by AP
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The majority of Palestinians support a peace agreement with Israel and believe that the Palestinian Authority should use non-violent means to achieve their political goals, a new Fafo poll revealed.

Fafo, a Norwegian based international multidisciplinary research foundation, found that 73 percent of Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza were in favor of peace negotiations with Israel, but stressed that a settlement freeze should be a precondition to talks.

The poll also revealed a rise in Palestinian support for halting rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel, rising from 53 percent in favor of a halt in 2009 to 61 percent in 2010.

Most Palestinians who agreed to answer the poll said they had more confidence in the Fatah leadership, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, than that of Hamas, and revealed that support of Hamas in Gaza was relatively lower than it was in 2008.

Also, over 89 percent of Palestinians are greatly in favor of new legislative elections this year, but only if it were held in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with the participation of Hamas.

The poll also found that if the elections were held this year, 84 percent believed that the Fatah would win. However, three of ten poll respondents believed that neither Abbas nor Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh were qualified to lead the Palestinian Authority, and claimed they would not vote.

The poll, which has been conducted in the PA for the past three years, found that after the Gaza War in December 2008, support for the Hamas party surged, but has gradually dropped since.
The respondents were randomly selected individuals aged 18 and above.

Of the 960 respondents in the West Bank in February 2010, and 933 respondents in Gaza during May 2010, the poll found that Palestinians were split over a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, the poll found.

Interviews took place at 66 fieldwork points in both areas, yet researchers limited their results saying that "These are people who refuse to answer the question, claim they do not intend to cast their votes, or do not know which party (or candidate) to support."