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Palestinians up support for Hamas

Palestinians up support for Hamas

Jerusalem: Hamas is likely to win the election if held today with majority of Palestinians supporting the group after the 50 days of confrontation with Israel.

According to a poll by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research published on Wednesday, the popularity of Hamas has steadily increased in the seven weeks of war with the group securing a heroic image among the Palestinians. The poll showed Islamists clearly leading presidential and parliamentary polls for the first time since Palestinians last voted eight years ago, when Hamas won power in Gaza.

The views, collected among over 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, show an unprecedented popular shift towards Hamas as tensions with Fatah boil. More than half of the Palestinians, reportedly, preferred Hamas’s strategy of armed struggle against Israel to peace negotiations favoured by Fatah, the once dominant Palestinian political movement and one backed by the West. Another 20 % supported non violent means.

Hamas’s former premier Ismail Haniyeh would win 61 per cent of votes in a two-way race against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, with Abbas taking just 32 per cent of the vote, the survey found. In the Gaza Strip, 53 percent backs Haniya while in the West Bank the figure jumps to 66 percent.

The poll also found that nearly 8 in 10 Palestinians believed Hamas defeated Israel in the recently concluded war. When asked about their views of the two-state solution, 51 percent of Palestinians opposed and 49 percent said they supported it.

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