US: Palestinians must choose own leaders, even as poll shows massive support for Hamas

US: Palestinians must choose own leaders, even as poll shows massive support for Hamas

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar holding a Palestinian child dressed as a Hamas fighter during a rally in Gaza City, May 24, 2021. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.

The future of the Palestinian leadership is “a question for the Palestinian people,” a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem told JNS this week, responding to a survey that showed Palestinians overwhelmingly prefer a government that includes the Hamas terror organization.

“Palestinian people’s voices and aspirations must be at the center of post-crisis governance in Gaza—unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority,” the spokesperson stated.

“We continue to believe that a negotiated two-state solution along the 1967 lines with mutually agreed-to swaps is the best way to advance a sustainable peace,” he continued.

“Beyond any military operation, defeating Hamas requires defeating an idea, which is why it is critical to present a clear vision of a better future and a path to achieve that vision,” the spokesperson concluded.

On Nov. 8, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the Gaza Strip must be handed over to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah following hostilities. The solution “must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the P.A.,” stated Blinken.

Earlier this week, U.S. National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby clarified that Washington seeks to support a P.A. that “has the support of all Palestinians so that they can effectively help with post-conflict governance, particularly in Gaza.”

Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist entity, won the majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament in a January 2006 election and most observers believe that it would again defeat P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction if he ever called another vote.

According to a poll released by the Arab World for Research and Development research firm last week, 72% of Palestinians support establishing a “unity government” that includes both Abbas and Hamas.

Only around 8.5% said they favor a government controlled exclusively by Fatah.

The Palestinian poll—the first of its kind since the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel—also found that slightly more than three in four Palestinians have a positive view of Hamas in the wake of recent developments.

Almost 50% of respondents characterized Hamas’s role as “very positive,” while 27.8% viewed Hamas as “somewhat positive.” Almost 80% regard the role of Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades “military” wing as positive.

The Al-Qassam Brigades killed more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and wounded thousands in the Oct. 7 attacks on southern Israel. In addition, terrorists took some 240 people hostage.

When asked whether they supported or opposed Hamas’s actions, 59.3% of the Palestinians surveyed said they “extremely” supported the attacks and 15.7% said they “somewhat” supported the murderous spree.

Only 12.7% expressed disapproval, with 10.9% saying they neither supported nor opposed the attack. Almost all (98%) of the respondents said the slaughter made them feel “prouder of their identity as Palestinians.”

Source: JNS