Gazans’ Alarming Support for Attacks on Israeli Civilians

Gazans’ Alarming Support for Attacks on Israeli Civilians
Nir Oz attack

The majority of Palestinians in Gaza, and a somewhat slimmer majority in Judea and Samaria, express support for violent attacks targeting Israeli civilians inside Israel, according to poll findings.

By David Rosenberg

A broad majority of Palestinian Arabs living in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip support at least one terrorist organization and back violent attacks on Israeli Jewish civilians living inside pre-1967, according to several recent polls.

Following the outbreak of the Hamas-Israel war on October 7th, collateral damage in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and international criticism of Israel’s air campaign in the coastal enclave have reignited long-simmering debates over the Palestinian attitudes among the general population towards terrorism and specific terrorist groups.

While Palestinians gave the Hamas terrorist organization’s “Change and Reform” parliamentary list a majority in the Palestinian Authority’s 2006 legislative elections, with 44.5% of the popular vote, support for the organization has ebbed and flowed over the past 17 years, with the Islamist faction consistently enjoying broader support in the Gaza Strip than in Judea and Samaria.

Recent polling in both the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria, taken two months before the October 7th invasion of southwestern Israel, shows support for Hamas in Gaza remains fairly strong, with 58% of Gazans having a positive opinion of the group.

Yet support for other terrorist groups is far higher in the Strip, with 71% of Gazans having a positive opinion of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, 61% having a positive opinion of the Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades terror organization, 64% who said they had a positive view of the ruling Palestinian Authority faction of Fatah, and 74% who had a positive view of the Lion’s Den, a relatively new Islamist terror group established in Samaria.

The poll, which was conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion on behalf of the Washington Institute, found that just 24% of Gazans said they had a negative view of the Lion’s Den.

According to a second poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research from September 6th through the 9th, nearly two-thirds of Gazans supported a return to “armed Intifada and confrontations” against Israel.

Among Gazans, 63% said they supported a new Intifada, compared to 58% of Arabs in Judea and Samaria, while 37% of Gazans and 41% of Judea and Samaria Palestinians opposed a new Intifada.

However, support for terrorist attacks “against Israeli civilians inside” was higher among Gazans than support for a new Intifada.

Sixty-seven percent of Gazans said they backed armed attacks on Israeli civilians, compared to just 33% who said they oppose such attacks.

In Judea and Samaria, 54% of Palestinians support armed attacks on Israeli civilians, while 41% oppose them.

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