Hamas popularity 'surges after Gaza war'

Survey suggests rising support for Hamas, with leader Ismail Haniya preferred as president to incumbent Mahmoud Abbas.

    Hamas popularity 'surges after Gaza war'
    Hamas has fought three wars against Israel while Fatah has pursued on-off talks [EPA]

    Hamas's support has surged after its war with Israel and would win Palestinian elections if they were held today, an opinion poll suggests.

    The Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research's poll, released on Tuesday, suggested Hamas leader Ismail Haniya would win almost twice as many votes as Fatah's Mahmoud Abbas, in a two-way presidential election.

    More than half of respondents said armed resistance - a pillar of Hamas's ideology - would help gain a Palestinian state, as opposed to 20 percent who said they supported non-violent means.

    And 79 percent of respondents said they believed that Hamas won the Gaza war, three percent backed Israel and 17 percent said both sides were losers.

    There have been no national elections since Hamas won polls in 2007 and took control of Gaza. 

    Hamas has fought three wars against Israel while Fatah has pursued on-off talks, mediated by the United States, which have so far failed to secure an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

    Meanwhile, a rare rally by thousands of Hamas supporters in Ramallah on Saturday passed without incident under the watchful eyes of plain-clothes Fatah forces, although Hamas complained that several of its backers were arrested afterwards.

    The Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research describes itself as a Ramallah-based independent non-profit institution and think tank. 

    The survey was conducted with more than 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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