A new poll of Palestinian public opinion shows that Palestinians would vote into the presidency a terrorist mastermind currently serving five life sentences in an Israeli jail. The poll also revealed widespread support in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for terrorist attacks against Israelis.
The survey, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, a European-funded nonpartisan think tank based in Ramallah, queried 1,200 adults in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Asked whom they would support if a presidential election were held today, Marwan Barghouti—a career terrorist and Fatah Party leader jailed since 2002 over his prominent role in directing suicide bombings against Israelis who headed the Tanzim militia and founder of the Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades—garnered the most votes.
Israel's indictment of Barghouti states that he oversaw 37 terrorist attacks that resulted in the murder of 26 Israelis.
In a three-way race between Barghouti, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, and Mahmoud Abbas (the current president), the vote would be split 37, 33, and 25 respectively. In a direct matchup between Barghouti and Haniya, the former would win overwhelmingly, 60-34.
The survey also found widespread endorsement of terrorism. Asked whether they support "armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel," 30 percent of West Bank Palestinians and 66 percent of Gaza Palestinians answered in the affirmative. Asked whether Palestinians should respond to the breakdown in the peace process by "return[ing] to the armed intifada and confrontations," a total of 36.7 percent expressed support, including 53 percent of Gazans.