Polls always reveal the “tiny minority of extremists” to be much larger than most Westerners assume.
A majority of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza approve of attacks against Israeli civilians and believe that an armed intifada would help them on the path to statehood, a recent poll has found.
The survey, carried out by the the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and published on April 4, found that 60 percent of Palestinians support “armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel,” while 65 percent think that escalating the current wave of violence into an armed intifada would help Palestinian national aspirations in a way that negotiations could not. A plurality also believes that armed action is the most effective way to establish a Palestinian state.
Efforts by Palestinian Authority security services to contain violence, which a PA official quoted by the survey said prevented 200 attacks against Israelis, were opposed by 65 percent of Palestinians and supported by 30 percent.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas remains deeply unpopular with his constituents, with about two-thirds of respondents demanding his resignation. If new elections took place in the West Bank and Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh – the leader of the terrorist group Hamas – would beat Abbas by 11 percentage points. However, if the competition was between Haniyeh and Mahmoud Barghouti – a convicted killer who is currently serving 67 life sentences in an Israeli prison for helping orchestrate some of the bloodiest suicide bombings of the second intifada – the latter would win by 18 percentage points.
Palestinians last held presidential elections in 2005. Abbas is currently on the 11th year of his four-year term.
A majority of Palestinians — 52 percent — also believe that Israel is planning to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, which are located on the Temple Mount, and build a synagogue in their place.
Palestinian incitement, including claims that Israel seek to destroy al-Aqsa, have fueled the wave of terror that has killed 34 Israelis and injured over 400 more since last September. Though the Israeli government routinely rejects the charge, and non-Muslim presence and activity on the Temple Mount remains highly restricted, Palestinian leaders often declare that al-Aqsa is in danger, an accusation that predates the founding of Israel….