Missing Hamas developments?

israeli soldierNews reports on the exploding conflict in the Middle East surround the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier by “Palestinian militants.” On the surface there are few religious issues in play here, but a little digging will indicate that the religious convictions of two groups of people are central to the region’s conflict.

There is the obvious fact that one side is Muslim and the other is Jewish, but the tough questions lie in the differing factions in these two groups. For starters, someone might explain the political (theological?) differences between Hamas and the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abba. Then there are the left-leaning and right-leaning parties (also theological) in the Israeli government. Then there are those shades of grey.

The views of the Israeli political parties are well known. One side wants aggression against the Palestinians, the other wants to work things out. Coverage of the Palestinians is less thorough.

For instance, here is one thing I would like a reporter in the Middle East to explain to me: why do some Palestinians, usually given the bland term “militants,” continue to lob rockets with the intent of hurting people and then get all surprised when the Israeli military punches back? I am sure there are several answers to this question, depending on who you ask, but it deserves at least an attempt at an answer.

Two articles — the first by The New York Times and the other by The Washington Post — do little to explain the all-important differences, but that is OK since there’s little room for background in a fast-developing news story.

palestinian terroristFor help, I want to turn to The New Republic, which (with Martin Peretz at the helm) has been fairly consistent on the Middle East. Here is part of TNR‘s report filed by foreign correspondent Yossi Klein Halevi, who has highlighted a key shift in the Hamas government:

Resuming assassinations against Hamas’s political echelon is, of course, a declaration of war against the Hamas regime. But given its official sanctioning of kidnapping, Hamas has already declared war against Israel. Hamas’s adoption of the tactics of Al Qaeda in Iraq comes as no surprise. After the killing of Zarqawi, Hamas issued a statement mourning his death and urging continued “resistance,” thereby making the Hamas regime the world’s only openly pro-Al Qaeda government. Unfortunately, the international media missed the significance of that moment.

That lapse in media judgment is worth recalling in the coming days, when much of the media will be presenting the “prisoners’ document” — a set of demands drawn up by Hamas and Fatah members imprisoned in Israel — as a historic Hamas concession, offering “tacit” recognition of Israel. In fact, the document does nothing of the sort. Nowhere does the document recognize the right of Israel to exist. Instead, it calls for Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders, followed by the “right” of Palestinian refugees to resettle in Israel and demographically overwhelm the Jewish state. The prisoners’ document, in other words, is a plan for the phased destruction of Israel — precisely why Hamas can endorse it.

The article provides a good amount of history and a bit on the theology behind Israel’s seemingly harsh reaction against Hamas for the kidnapping, but the item that caught my attention the most was that Hamas has shifted toward Al Qaeda. Is this merely a political move? Why so little coverage? Where is the theological connection between the two groups that would make this union work? Or is a connection even necessary?

Top photo courtesy of Flickr.

Print Friendly

  • EV

    The mother/children/Israeli photo that you hyperlink to is captioned like this at Flicker, “An Israeli soldier tries to shoot an Palestinian Mother [sic] and her two children.” I had my graphic artist husband examine the photo because it seemed to my untrained eye that the muzzle of the gun was not in effect pointed at the girls. His ready assessment is that the soldier is holding the gun in front of himself sideways with the muzzle pointed directly to his left.

  • Pingback: tjic.com » Blog Archive » we know what side they’re on by what they defend

  • Larry Rasczak

    >>Why do some Palestinians, usually given the bland term “militants,” continue to lob rockets with the intent of hurting people and then get all surprised when the Israeli military punches back?

  • http://dpulliam.com dpulliam

    EV, I had the same thoughts when I posted the photo…that the caption wasn’t that accurate, but the caption isn’t why I selected the photo. It was the imagery.

  • Larry Rasczak

    Sorry for the posting error.

    In any case, you ask “Why do some Palestinians, usually given the bland term “militants,” continue to lob rockets with the intent of hurting people and then get all surprised when the Israeli military punches back?”

    Well, because the vast majority of Palestinians think that lobbing rockets at Israel and killing Jews is a great idea… and worth the Israeli response.

    As many groups (Council of American Islamic Relations for example) like to remind us, the Palestinians overwhelmingly ELECTED Hamas as their new government… fully knowing that Hamas supports terrorism. Since the prior government was the remains of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah party, and Arafat wasn’t exactly Mother Teresa or Albert Schweitzer, (can anyone remember Munich, Entebbe, Kiryat Shimona, Ma’a lot, Achillie Lauro hijacking, etc.?) this probably shouldn’t be a surprise.

    In any case it is sadly obvious that the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people SUPPORT terrorism. They support terrorism not as an end in itself, but as a tactic in a war of extermination against Israel. (“We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion. . . . We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem.” — Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the PLO 1996). They see terrorism as the only way available for them to carry on this war, since open military attacks failed so miserably in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, etc. They think of the suicide truck bomber as “the poor man’s smart bomb.”

    The reasons the Palestinians feel this way can be debated endlessly and fruitlessly. The sad reality is that it is NOT “some Palestinians, usually given the bland term “militants,” that support terrorism, but overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people.

    Which raises the terrible and morally troubling question of “ Is there such a thing as an “innocent Palestinian” any more?” If one supports the terrorists, votes for the terrorists, and chooses to be ruled by terrorists, be it Hamas or Fatah, how can you claim to be “innocent”?

  • Stephen A.

    Well, since we’re “going there” politically, I think this is an excellent post that points out what I’ve said for a while – that it’s not sufficient to say “THE Palestinians..” or “THE Israelis…” since for the most part, they are both complex political entities that have a wide range of thought. This ranges from “Push them into the Sea” on the Palestinian side to “Kill all Arabs” on the Israeli side (quote from a former Israeli tourist minister, of all people. He was later murdered.)

    As for the Palestinians, the ones lobbing rockets into Israel deserved what they got, and knew they were provoking them.

    As for the Israelis, they are reacting exactly the way those “militants” want them to react – by overreacting.

    There’s a VAST array of political, social and religious reasons why this pattern is continuing (PM Olmert wanting to show he’s “as tough” as Sharon, the military man; religious zealots wanting to ‘destroy’ Israel, etc.) that are not fully covered in the media. That’s a shame.

    A final word: If a gang member shoots up a neighborhood here in the U.S., we don’t blow up his house in retaliation – with his family in it. Nor do we bomb his city’s electrical grid or arrest its mayor. That’s just where I live. Where you live, they might do things differently. Just saying.

    An eye for an eye is one thing (and even that is questionable) but a dozen eyes for one eye is not proportional, or even biblical.

    That said, I hope the “militants” learn finally that kidnapping is NOT an effective political tool, any more than terrorism is.

  • Fr. Raphael Johnston

    While we’re on the topic of labels, why do we North Americans, generally speaking, so easily accept that all Palestinians are terrorists, and that they’re all Muslim? In the middle of all the polarization are the Palestinian Christians – the descendants of the very first Christians – once a majority in the region, now almost extinct, hunted and hounded by both sides in this conflict. Palestinian Christians are not lobbing bombs, firing rockets or driving explosive-laden trucks. They are not taking hostages or demanding reprisals. They are doing what all Christians should be doing: seeking to work out their own salvation while praying for justice in their homeland and for the peace of Jerusalem.

  • MJBubba

    Note to Larry: I am not convinced that Hamas has an “overwhelming majority” of support from the Palestinians. Most of the Hamas candidates won with about 40 – 45 % of the vote, because the incompetents at Fatah let their candidates run against each other in the general election. (I concede that Fatah has not exactly been nice guys, but real peace advocates in the Palestinian community find it hard to survive with Hamas lurking in every block.)

  • Larry Rasczak

    By Scott Wilson
    Washington Post Foreign Service
    Friday, January 27, 2006; Page A01

    RAMALLAH, West Bank, Jan. 26 — The radical Islamic movement Hamas won a large majority in the new Palestinian parliament, according to official election results announced Thursday, trouncing the governing Fatah party in a contest that could dramatically reshape the Palestinians’ relations with Israel and the rest of the world.

    In Wednesday’s voting, Hamas claimed 76 of the 132 parliamentary seats, giving the party at war with Israel the right to form the next cabinet under the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah.

    Fatah, which has dominated the legislature since the previous elections a decade ago and the Palestinian cause for far longer, won 43 seats. A collection of nationalist, leftist and independent parties claimed the rest.

    Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia….(said)… “This is the choice of the people,” Qureia, a member of the party’s discredited old guard who did not run for reelection, told reporters here. “It should be respected.”

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    By my math that means that out of 132 Parlementary Seats, a minimum of 119 went to parties that support and/or engage in terrorisim.

    If I did the math right, that’s a little over 90% of the seats. 57% support the unapologetic Hamas Islamic terrorists, 33% support the “reformed” more secular (ex-communist) Fatah terrorists.

    So there may be a “VAST range of opinions”, but my point is that apparently 9 out of 10 Palestinians seem to share the single opinion that terrorisim (at least when directed against Jews) is a pretty good thing.

    So this ISN’T just some “isolated militants”. This isn’t the Unibomber alone in his cabin, this isn’t Tim McVey hiding in the shadows. “This is the choice of the people…It should be respected.” This is the Crips winning the White House and 304 seats in Congress, while the Bloods win 176 seats. Were that to happen the gangstas would not be “isolated”… they would be the majority.

    So this violence is NOT the result of “isloated militants” like Tim McVey or the Unibomber. This isn’t the Crips and the Bloods. These militants enjoy very broad popular support… and that statment is backed up by the results of the Palestinians own election.

    That is probably why “…we North Americans, generally speaking, so easily accept that all Palestinians are terrorists, and that they’re all Muslim…” because the vast majority of Palestinians ARE Muslim and the vast majority, when given the vote, vote for known terrorists.

    True, “the vast majority” is NOT the same as “all”. Fr. Johnston has a very good point there.

    But again, the morally troubling point is that the vast majority of the Palestinians VOTED for these terrorists, and they did so BECAUSE they are terrorists.

    Given that, what are we to do? What to we do about the 10% that didn’t vote for terroists? What do we do about the 90% that did?

  • Fr. Raphael Johnston

    “So there may be a “VAST range of opinions”, but my point is that apparently 9 out of 10 Palestinians seem to share the single opinion that terrorisim (at least when directed against Jews) is a pretty good thing.”

    Shouldn’t that be “9 out of 10 elected officials in the Palestinian government”? If MJBubba is correct, 90% of the seats may not translate to 90% of the voters.

    I’d be interested to know (and to see a signifigant bit of journalistic effort in presenting):
    1. what percentage of eligible Palestinian voters exercised their franchise?
    2. What percentage of voters actually voted for those 9 out of 10 government officials?

    In the end, I will likely have to agree that the mnajority of Palestinians support terrorism – but until then, how about some more facts?

  • http://www.ajpme.org paulthesimple

    “demographically overwhelm the Jewish state.”

    Every politician in a democracy would like to “demographically overwhelm” his or her opponent. Are we criticizing the Palestinians out of habit on this one, because that sounds like democracy to me?

    That leads to a bigger question: Is a Jewish state for Jews compatible with democracy in a land that has a large minority of Palestinians (and potentially a slight majority in a few years). The answer was no 40 years ago when Israel decided not to annex the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The Demographics are the heart of the problem and both sides know it.

    The vast majority of people in Palestine voted for Hamas because Fatah was corrupt. Hamas was also the only group that was capable of delivering social services on regular bases. If Israel did not want Hamas to win the election they should have stepped up to the plate and provided some basic necessities for the Palestinian population (like housing, sewers and medical resources).

  • Larry Rasczak

    “The vast majority of people in Palestine voted for Hamas because Fatah was corrupt. Hamas was also the only group that was capable of delivering social services on regular bases. ”

    Fatah was undoubtedly corrupt and incompetent, true. If Hamas is any better is an open question. Either way, both are clearly terrorist organizations. I don’t think we can use that to excuse what is obviously broad Palestinian support for terrorist organizations. It reminds me of what people in the early ’30s used to say about how Mussolini “made the trains run on time”.

    Europe went down that route more than once and discovered that political party made up of mass murdering thugs (but is capable of delivering social services on regular bases) is STILL a bunch of mass murderering thugs!!

    I think John Locke, Adam Smith, Ghandi, and Martin Luther King’s works have been translated into Arabic somwhere along the line. I’m sure that news of the peaceful and democratic “people power” movements that brought down the Warsaw Pact nations, the U.S.S.R., Ferdinand Marcos’ Philipines, the Ukraine, and many others has made it into the Palestinian territories. If enough Palestinians wanted a non-terrorist political party I’m sure they could create one.

    “If Israel did not want Hamas to win the election they should have stepped up to the plate and provided some basic necessities for the Palestinian population (like housing, sewers and medical resources). ”

    Is it really Israel’s place to pick and choose who wins the Palestinian election? I don’t think so. This is the choice of the Palestinian people. It should be respected and treated as such. I see no reason the Palestinians should not be held just as responsible for their electoral choices as the French, English, Canadians, Mexicans, Italians, Spanish, Swedes, Danes, Poles, Czechs, Americans, or Israelis are.

  • Larry Rasczak

    Well Fr. Raphael raised some fantastic questions, so I did some research.

    The Electronic Intafada is an excellent site, but the best I found was at Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_legislative_election,_2006

    Bottom line up front, it looks like this
    Turnout was reported by the Central Elections Commission as being 74.6% — 76.0% in the Gaza Strip and 73.1% in the West Bank, apparently much lower in East Jerusalem.

    The pre-election polls show results similar to the election itself.

    The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research polled 1,316 adults in the West bank and Gaza strip in early December 2005 on their voting intentions for the legislative poll, which indicated the following support:[9]
    · Fatah: 50%
    · Hamas: 32%
    · Others: 9%
    · Undecided: 9%
    A second poll by PCPSR between 29 December – 31 December covered 4560 potential voters
    · Fatah: 43%
    · Change and Reform (Hamas): 25%
    · Independent Palestine: 5%
    · Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa: 3%
    · The Alternative: 2%
    · The Third Way: 2%
    · Undecided: 19%
    A poll from Palestinian Public Opinion Polls, conducted 5 January and 6 January, covering 1360 persons,
    · Fatah 39.3%
    · Change and Reform (Hamas): 31.3%
    · Independent Palestine: 10.4%
    · Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa: 6.8%
    · The Third Way: 5.5%

    Exit polls gave similar results. A poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research estimated that Fatah had won 42 % of the national vote and Hamas 35 %; the margin of error was 4 %. Another exit poll, conducted by Birzeit University, largely viewed as the most authoritative estimation, had Fatah with 46.4 % of the vote and Hamas with 39.5 %

    If we use the Birzeit numbers, and discount for the turn out (higher than in U.S. elections) we get something close to 34% of the electorate support the secular (ex-communist) terrorists of the PLO/Fatah, and 29% support the more radical Islamic terrorists of Hamas.

    Which gives us roughly to two thirds of the Palestinians voting for one of the two main terrorist parties. So even though the two main terrorist parties have 90% of the governmental seats, they apparently “only” have about 2/3 of the voting electorate behind them. … This of course assumes that none of the people who failed to vote share their countrymen’s taste for terrorists as leaders. Since it was Islamic Jihad who as calling for a boycott of the election this isn’t terribly likely.

    In any case we are still left with the moral question I posed at the start of this. What are we to do with a country where the vast majority (at least 2 out of every 3, likely higher) of the people actually support terrorisim? If one supports the terrorists, votes for the terrorists, and chooses to be ruled by terrorists, (be it Hamas or Fatah), can you still claim you are “innocent”?

  • Fr. Raphael Johnston

    Thanks, Larry for the research. It leaves you (and me, too, I’m afraid) in the uncomfortable position where the inevitible answer to your final question is: There is none who has not sinned. No not one. None can claim innocence.

    What does it mean that there are no alternatives in the Palestinian state? And what is preventing uprisings of the one third who may not support terrorism. Can this be the fruit of Islam itself? (not at all a pc question, to be sure!)

    Back for a moment to my earlier issue of Christian Palestinians . . . they, too, have voted, but not at the ballot box. They have voted with their feet and left the Middle East. What does this mean for a democratic society when all who disagree believe they must leave?

    I am reminded of a provincial election a number of years ago in New Brunswick (I think it was NB) – every seat was won by the same party, which is troublesome in a system which depends on having a “loyal opposition”. A local editorial cartoon pictured a bunch of kids in the Legislative Assembly, and the caption read: “Today’s Loyal Opposition will be Miss Smith’s 3rd grade class”.

  • http://www.ajpme.org paulthesimple

    It reminds me of what people in the early ’30s used to say about how Mussolini “made the trains run on time”. LR

    If you want to make comparisons in history maybe Apartheid in South Africa would be a good start. This is a western people trying to control a native people by keeping them in their separate areas. Raymound Louw, a journalist from South Africa, made the following observation in Hebron (in the West Bank):

    “This is a city (Hebron) under military occupation without any rights for the occupied. There was never a situation like this with apartheid. The control in the black areas was not so forceful. I don’t think you can compare the two situations. Under apartheid, there was a recognition that the blacks would continue to live in their areas. Here the impression is that the objective is to push the Palestinians out.” Raymond Louw’s From Ha’aretz – 5/24/2001

    The Palestinians may want to get rid of the Jewish state but that is a far cry from getting ride of the Jews. Very few Palestinians want this. The Jews are much closer to getting rid of the Palestinians than the other way around. I do not like the Mussolini reference, but if you are going to use it then put it on the other foot.

    “I think John Locke, Adam Smith, Ghandi, and Martin Luther King’s works have been translated into Arabic somewhere along the line.” LR

    The Palestinians have a very active peace movement but it is boring to report about so no one ever hears about Elias Chacour, Elias Jabbour and Niam Attek. Whenever the Palestinians use peaceful means their houses still get demolished and their young boys still get detained and the world ignores them. The failure of the peace movements lies with us. They are trying but we are not listening.

    “Is it really Israel’s place to pick and choose who wins the Palestinian election?” LR

    Israel is the ruling government in the occupied territories and has been for almost 40 years. The Palestinian government only has limited authority at the pleasure of the Israelis. The Israelis are responsible for the third world conditions down the street from the sprawling “Jewish Israeli only” suburbs in East Jerusalem. They are responsible for the health and security of the Palestinians.

    “I see no reason the Palestinians should not be held just as responsible for their electoral choices”. LR

    I do not see anyone anywhere being found guilty of anything because of who they voted for.

    “What are we to do with a country where the vast majority (at least 2 out of every 3, likely higher) of the people actually support terrorism?” LR

    Stop oppressing them. As David Neuneubel likes to say “It is the Occupation Stupid.” Like most statistical analysis that do not include an on the ground look at the problem yours does not reflect reality. Things are a lot simpler in an armchair. (I do not want to imply any one reading this is stupid, I am sure that is not the case).

    “If one supports the terrorists, votes for the terrorists, and chooses to be ruled by terrorists, (be it Hamas or Fatah), can you still claim you are “innocent”?” LR

    Yes. Voting for something is not illegal. The Israelis have a bigger hurdle because they all are supposed to serve in the army. Where is the innocent line drawn in that case?

    Most people who voted had bigger issues like economics, education and corruption on their minds when they voted. I would like to hear some alternative strategies for the Palestinians to get out of the Occupation. And I do not think giving in to all of Israelis’ demands is going to fly. They have tried peace and we ignored them. They tried violence and we criticized them. Now they are trying democracy and we boycott them.

  • Kristine J

    Thank you, Paul. You said what I wanted to say. Of course, there are many more issues facing Palestinians than whether their choice of government is pleasing to the westerners who are looking for something- anything- to criticize. I think Larry does the ‘blame game’ with statistics very well, but doesn’t take into consideration the extreme complexity of life, religion and politics in that region of the world. I lived in the Middle East for three years back in the 1980s, and made friends with Armenians, Jews, Arabs, Copts and Orthodox people, all with different agendas, dreams, problems & complications. I can only say that I don’t see true peace in that part of the world until Christ comes again.

  • Larry Rasczak

    Excuse me…

    What is extremely complex about the idea that deliberately murdering innocent people is wrong, immoral, and can not be morally supported or justified?

    That is what a “TERRORIST” is. It is NOT a gurellia, it is NOT a revolutionary. Terrorist is a military and political term of art with a specific meaning.

    There is no moral equality here. Every so often the Palestinians hit an armed Israeli soldier, or an American warship or an American Marine Barracks. That is not what I am talking about.

    Neither am I talking about “collateral damage”, or accidental killings where a bomb falls in the wrong place due to error.

    I am talking about groups of people that DELIBERATELY TARGET unarmed, non-combatant people, (normally Israelis) for MURDER, as a mater of political policy.

    They find vulnerable young people and persuade them to go strap a belt of explosives to their chest, go into a Pizza resturant filled with mothers, kids, and office workers, and blow themselves up.

    Not only that, they like to line the belt with nails, so as to cause maximum injury and loss of life, and often coat those nails with rat poison. Rat poison is an anti-coagulant and if it gets into the wound it can cause a victim that would otherwise survive to bleed to death. This was first detected by the physicians in Israeli E.R.s.

    This is evil. It is unjustifiable and it is evil. No the perpetrators may not feel that way, but unlike the comic books people in real life rarely come out and name themselves “The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants”. No in real life evil people always claim that their evil acts are justified by a greater good… like liebensraum, or “the Revolution”, or enforcing racial purity, or keeping X people “in their place” or as revenge for something one of their ancestors suffered X hundred years ago, or what the horrible people across the river did to us, or that this band of mass murdering thugs are the only people who can deliver social services, or that this particular immoral behavior is “legal”, etc. etc. etc.

    Their reasons may be understandable, they may even help them sleep at night, but to an honest intelect it doesn’t hold water. Terrorisim is evil?

    What is so “extremely complex” about saying that terrorisim is immoral?

    What is so “extremely complex” about saying the people that do such evil things can not be supported by moral people?

  • Kristine J

    It is not complex to say terrorism is evil. It is simple. It is also simple, but dead wrong to say that all Palistinians are terrorists, and all Israelis are victims. Obviously, this issue holds a place in your life that makes you see red and doesn’t allow you to see people as individuals. Sorry.

  • Stephen A.

    That the issue is complex is not hard to grasp, given recent events. It’s almost like clockwork: Small group of terrorists take hostages and kill civilians, Israel overreacts and sends in the military, Palestinians play the victim, etc.

    Of course, this time, it’s “same as usual” on steroids, with kidnappings, murders, rounding up elected officials and (according to SOME reports) the threat to ASSASSINATE the Palestinian (Hamas) PM. One could be cynical and say it’s simply a response to the little-reported agreement this week of Hamas to finally recognize Israel. I suppose some extremists in Israel couldn’t very well have THAT, now could they?

    But it’s equally possible that they are honestly outraged over the brazen rocket attacks from Gaza and the capture of that poor 19-year old soldier, and the murder of others.

    My sympathies and prayers for that young man at this point, even as I begin to wonder why young Palestinian children are being held in Israeli jails, and why the NYT isn’t ALL OVER that story, as they have been with the ‘Gitmo’ prisoners. Hmmm.

  • mjbubba

    Regarding the Palestinian ballot, I recall that, in the mid-1990s years before the intifada, a couple of peace candidates withdrew from the ballot because of death threats to their families and other coercive measures by shadowy hard-liners. That story never received much coverage at the time, but perhaps it leads to the current 2/3 plurality for terrorist candidates by eliminating the competition.

    Yes, the Palestinian Christians, and Palestinian peace advocates as well, continue to vote with their feet. It was only yesterday that I saw the statistic that 60% of the non-native arabs in America are Christians, so that must be true for the entire middle east. Who is covering that story?

  • Larry Rasczak

    Last update – 17:54 09/07/2006

    Poll: Majority of Palestinians back kidnappings, Qassam fire

    By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent

    A sizable majority of Palestinians support the continued kidnappings of Israelis as well as persistent Qassam rocket fire as a means to pressure Israel to release Palestinian prisoners, according to a new poll commissioned by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center, the results of which were released Sunday.

    Of the 1,197 respondents from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, 66.8 percent expressed support for further kidnappings of Israeli civilians while 77.2 percent backed the Kerem Shalom tunnel operation and subsequent kidnapping of Israel Defense Forces Corporal Gilad Shalit.

    Nonetheless, just 47.7 percent of those polled said they believed the Shalit affair would end positively for the Palestinian side.

    The poll also showed that 60 percent of the public supports the continued Qassam rocket fire into Israel as opposed to 36 percent who oppose.

    Public support for Hamas marked a slight improvement compared to last month – 33.1 percent compared to 30.8 percent one month ago – while support for Fatah weakened a bit from 33.2 percent last month to 32.2 percent today.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X