15 April 2024

With humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip worsening, support for Hamas declines in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; and as support for armed struggle drops in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, support for the two-state solution rises in the Gaza Strip only. Nonetheless, wide popular support for October the 7th offensive remains unchanged and the standing of the Palestinian Authority and its leadership remains extremely weak 
5 -10 March 2024

These are the results of the latest poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between 5-10 March 2024. The period leading up to the poll witnessed the continuation and expansion of the war on the Gaza Strip to include a ground offensive in the center and south of the Gaza Strip, with few exceptions. This development led to an worsening of the humanitarian suffering, the displacement of hundreds of thousands more, the killing of some thirty thousand, mostly women and children, and the arrival of signs of famine in the northern Gaza Strip, which has received little food aid delivery. There were also fears of the magnitude of the catastrophe that may befall the Rafah area if the ground war spreads to it. South Africa has filed a complaint against Israel at the International Court of Justice accusing it of genocide against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. Efforts to reach a ceasefire before the start of Ramadan have failed during this period, although these efforts led by Qatar, Egypt and the United States have continued. Talk of the day after the war continued with little progress. But talk of the need to revitalize the Palestinian Authority (PA) led to the resignation of Mohammad Shtayyeh's government and talk of possible alternatives. Meanwhile, restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank continued, as the entrances to most towns and villages were blocked by the Israeli army in order to prevent residents from accessing the main roads. Settler violence against Palestinian towns and villages in certain vulnerable parts of areas B and C also continued.

This poll covers all these issues, in addition to others such as the peace process and the alternatives options available to the Palestinians in light of the current stalemate in that process.

To ensure the safety of our data collectors in the Gaza Strip, we have restricted the interviews with residents and displaced persons to specific areas where there was no on-going daily fighting. These areas included the Rafah area, parts of the Khanyounis area, the central Gaza Strip, and all shelters in these areas.  Our data collectors were not deployed in the besieged northern Gaza area nor in parts in the central Gaza Strip and parts in the Khanyounis area that saw daily fighting or Israeli army deployment.

The data collection dates where selected carefully in the hope that the interviews would be conducted under two different conditions: continued war and a ceasefire. We hoped (1) to be able to document and measure the change that might be generated by the ceasefire, which we expected to take place on the first day of the month of Ramadan, and (2) to be able compare the findings under the two conditions. Therefore, half of the interviews were completed during the first three days of data collection. At that point, on the fourth day, 8 March, we suspended data collection in order to assess the prospects for a ceasefire. On that day, we concluded that no ceasefire would take place as we originally expected. Therefore, we resumed data collection on the fifth day and continued until 10 March.

The sample size of this poll is 1580 adults, of whom 830 were interviewed face to face in the West Bank (in 83 locations) and 750 in the Gaza Strip (in 75 locations). Given the uncertainty about the population distribution in the Gaza Strip, we almost doubled the size of the sample in that area in order to lower the margin of error, which stands at +/-3%. The combined West Bank-Gaza Strip data file was reweighted to reflect the actual proportionate size of the population in the two Palestinian areas. Therefore, the sample is representative of the residents of the two areas.

For further details, contact PSR director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki, or Walid Ladadweh at tel. 02-296 4933 or email pcpsr@pcpsr.org

Summary of the Main Findings:

As in our previous poll, conducted three months ago, most of the questions asked in the first quarter of 2024 revolved around October the 7th offensive and the subsequent Israeli war and ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, the unprecedented humanitarian suffering of the population, the horrors and atrocities of the war, the debate about the future of the Gaza Strip after the war, the likely repercussions of an Israeli ground offensive in Rafah, the South African case before the International Court of Justice, and public satisfaction with the performance of the various relevant actors during the war. One of the surprising developments documented in this poll is that the differences between the attitudes of West Bankers compared to Gazans have narrowed on most of these issues. One reason for this might have been the fact that the data in the West Bank, for the pervious poll, was collected during the release by Israel of West Bank prisoners as part of the Hamas-Israel ceasefire agreement. Other than the ceasefire, no equivalent development was unfolding in the Gaza Strip at that time. This poll also examined the impact of the war on the internal balance of power, support for the Palestinian leadership, and the Palestinian-Israeli relations and the peace process.

We begin with the humanitarian and living conditions. Conditions in the Gaza Strip continue to worsen. The poll shows that the majority of Gazans are still unable to find food, that the shelters where they now live lack most of the basic needs, and that efforts to have access to some of the basic needs involve great difficulties and risks. It is also worth noting that there are significant complaints of discrimination, on political grounds, in the distribution of humanitarian aid.  But perhaps the most disturbing is that fact that almost 80% of Gazans report that at least one of their family members have been killed or injured. Three months ago, only 64% reported the same. Indeed, 60% report today that at least one family member has been killed. Almost two-thirds blame Israel for their suffering and most of the others blame the US; in the Gaza Strip, only 9%, a 10-point drop from our previous poll, blame Hamas.

While support for Hamas’ offensive on October the 7th remains as high as it was three months ago, Palestinian support in the West Bank has in fact dropped by 11 points while, surprisingly, support in the Gaza Strip has increased by 14 points. It is clear from the findings however, that support for the offensive does not mean support for Hamas. Instead, the findings show that three quarters of the Palestinians believe that the offensive has put the Palestinian-Israeli issue at the center of attention after years of neglect at the regional and international levels.

As we have found in the previous poll, almost all Palestinians think Israel is committing war crimes while almost all believe Hamas is not committing war crimes in the current war. Moreover, more than 90% believe that Hamas did not commit any atrocities against Israel civilians during its October the 7th offensive. Only one in five Palestinians has seen videos showing atrocities committed by Hamas. Only one fifth of those who did not see the videos had access to such videos but decided not to see them; the rest report that the media they watched did not show these videos. The findings show that those who have seen the videos are almost 10 times more likely to think that Hamas men have committed atrocities on October 7.

We explored possible ramifications of an Israeli ground offensive in Rafah. The findings show that only one quarter of Gazans think an Israeli ground operation in Rafah would lead to a mass rush to the border with Egypt. Indeed, 70% of Gazans say that even if the Rafah-Egypt barrier is to collapse they would not seek safety in Egypt. Perhaps one reason for the reluctance to cross the border is the fact that almost 70% of Gazans think the Egyptian army and police will shoot at those crossing the borders.

The vast majority is satisfied with the South African efforts to take Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accusing it of genocide. But two thirds of the public express dissatisfaction with the court’s decision that did not ask Israel to abide by a ceasefire. Moreover, less than 40% think the ICJ will eventually convict Israel of genocide. But even if convicted, more than 70% of the Palestinians think Israel will not reassess its continued occupation of the Palestinian territories. 

The findings show that while half of the West Bankers are optimistic about a ceasefire soon, only a little over a quarter of Gazans express the same expectation. Indeed, the largest percentage of Gazans (38%) expects the war to continue. Surprisingly however, while less West Bankers expect Hamas to win, compared to our findings three months ago, more Gazans express that expectation today. Indeed, Gazans’ expectation that Israel will win the war has dropped by one third.

Furthermore, while less West Bankers think today, compared to three months ago, that Hamas will remain in control of the Gaza Strip in the future, more Gazans now think Hamas will be in control. Indeed, almost 60% of Gazans think that. When asked about their own preference, Gazans’ support for continued Hamas control over the Gaza Strip has increased to more than 50%, a 14-point rise. Indeed, given the magnitude of the suffering in the Gaza Strip, this seems to be the most counter intuitive finding of the entire poll. Nonetheless, it is consistent with the increase in the percentage of Gazans who think Hamas will win the current war. This is particularly interesting because the opposite happened in the West Bank, with the preference for Hamas staying in control dropping significantly while West Bankers’ expectations that Hamas will win dropped by 14 points.

As we did in our previous poll, we asked in the current one about public satisfaction with the role played during the war by various Palestinian, Arab/regional, and international actors. The findings show similar results, with the satisfaction with Hamas and Yahya Sinwar remaining very high. By contrast, satisfaction with Fatah and president Abbas remains very low. At the regional level, satisfaction with Yemen and Qatar increases while satisfaction with Iran, Jordan, and Egypt remains low. Indeed, satisfaction with Egypt in particular has drops by half in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. None of the international players, including Russai, receive high satisfaction. The findings continue to show almost zero satisfaction with the US.

We explored the impact of the war on the internal Palestinian balance of power. The current poll indicates a significant change compared to the previous one. In total, only one third of the Palestinians support Hamas today, an 11-point drop. The drop has been almost equal in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. However, Fatah does not benefit from the drop in support for Hamas as its own support remains unchanged compared to our findings three months ago. It is worth remembering that our previous poll was conducted during the release of Palestinian women and children as part of the Hamas-Israel ceasefire agreement. Undoubtedly, Hamas’ popularity benefited greatly as a result of that deal.  

At the leadership level, the current poll also shows significant change. The most important change is the rise in support for Marwan Barghouti. In presidential elections against current president Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas’ leader Ismail Haniyeh, Barghouti wins the majority of those participating in the elections. In a two-way competition between Barghouti and Haniyeh, the former wins by more than 60% of the participating voters. These findings indicate an 11-point rise in the vote for Barghouti among voters and an 8-point drop in the vote for Haniyeh.  By contrast, in the two-way competition is between Haniyeh and Abbas, the former wins 70% of the participating voters.  Indeed, the demand for the resignation of president Abbas, while declining a little in the Gaza Strip, has increased slightly in the West Bank.

Also domestically, the resignation of the Shtayyeh government is not seen as a sign of reform and the vast majority rejects the appointment of Mohammad Mustafa as prime minister. More than 60% of the public want a government that is neither under the control of a political party nor under the control of president Abbas. Two thirds continue to express the belief that the PA is now a burden on the Palestinian people and the majority favors its dissolution.  Finally, perception of personal and family safety and security in the West Bank keep dropping, as 9 out of 10 West Bankers say they do not feel safe or secure.

On Palestinian-Israeli relations, the findings are also different than those reported in our previous poll three months ago. Two findings are worth noting: support for the two-state solution has increased significantly and support for armed struggle has dropped significantly. However, the increased support for the two-state solution, while dramatic, came only from the Gaza Strip, a 27-point increase, while remaining stable in the West Bank. Given three choices for ending the Israeli occupation, the current findings indicate a 17-point decrease in support for armed struggle; a 5-point rise in support for negotiations; and a 5-point rise in support for non-violence.  The drop in three months in support for armed struggle comes equally from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

1) October the 7th and the War in Gaza:

1. Support for Hamas’ decision to launch the October the 7th offensive remains unchanged:

  • As we did in our previous poll three months ago, we asked the respondents in this poll what they thought of Hamas’ decision to launch the October the 7th offensive. A vast majority of 71%, compared to 72% in December 2023, say it was correct. However, despite the stability of the total response, the findings do show significant change when looking at the two areas separately. As the figure below shows, the perception that the decision of the offensive was correct drops in the West Bank by 11 points and increases in the Gaza Strip by 14 points.

  • The continued and consistent support for Hamas’ offensive despite significant changes in public attitudes during the past three months, including a significant decline in Hamas’ popularity in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as we will see later in this report, can be partially explained by the findings regarding a question about the diplomatic fallout from that offensive and the Israeli response to it. We asked the public if it thinks that “the war on Gaza since October 7 has revived international attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that it could lead to increased recognition of Palestinian statehood.” Three quarters say “yes”; only 22% say “no.”  

2. Humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip:

  • Only 44% of Gazans say they have enough food for a day or two and 55% say they do not. These are almost identical to the same findings we obtained three months ago. It is worth remembering that we did not conduct any interviews in the besieged northern parts of the Gaza Strip.
  • When they need food or water, only 19% of Gazans say they can reach a place where they can have access to assistance; another 77% say they can but with a great difficulty or risk, and 4% say they cannot.
  • Sixty percent of all Gazans say a member of their family has been killed during the current war. In a separate question, 68% say a member of their family has been injured. When combining the two questions, the findings show that 78% say a member of their family has been either killed or injured; only 22% of Gazans say none of their family members have been killed or injured. Three months ago, 64% of Gazans said a member of their family had been killed or injured during the current war.

  • We asked Gazans about the availability of essential needs: water, food, electricity, tents, covers, clothing, medical care, and toilets.  Those who said “Yes, available” ranged between 10% for tents and 33% for water. But the largest percent said these needs are available but with great difficulty and risk. This was particularly the case for medical care, tents, food, water, and electricity. The needs that seem unavailable at all for the largest percentage of Gazans are tents, clothing, and covers.

We asked those in shelters about the identity of the organizers in charge. The majority of the respondents (62%) said it was UNRWA, 15% said it was government, 13% local Palestinian group, and 8% said other international organization.

  • We asked respondents to assess, based on their personal experience, the fairness of aid distribution to displaced residents currently in shelters. The vast majority (70%) said it was discriminatory while only 27% said it was fair. When we crosstabulated these responses based on the identity of the shelters’ organizers, it becomes clear, as shown in the following figure, that greatest complaint (90%) comes from those in shelters organized by local Palestinian groups, followed by those organized by UNRWA, other international organizations, and the government.

  • A majority of 64% (compared to 52% three months ago) blames Israel for the current suffering of Gazans in the current war while 20% (compared to 26% three months ago) place the blame on the US; only 7% (compared to 11% three months ago) place the blame on Hamas, and 6% (compared to 9% three months ago) blame the PA. It is worth noting that the percentage of Gazans who place the blame on Hamas has dropped from 19% to 9%.

3. War crimes and atrocities:

  • As we found in the previous poll, almost all Palestinians (94% think Israel has committed war crimes during the current war. By contrast, only 5% (compared to 10% three months ago) think Hamas also committed such crimes; 4% think Israel has not committed such crimes and 91% think Hamas did not commit war crimes during the current war.
  • 80% (compared to 85% in December 2023) say they did not see videos, shown by international news outlets, showing acts committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians, such as the killing of women and children in their homes; only 19% (11% in the West Bank and 30% in the Gaza Strip) saw these videos.
  • We asked those who did not see the videos to tell us the reasons they have not seen them: 60% said that the media they watched did not show them while 20% (14% in the West Bank and 31% in the Gaza Strip) said that they did not want to watch them.
  • When asked if Hamas did commit these atrocities that are seen in these videos, the overwhelming majority (93%) said no, it did not, and only 5% said it did. As shown in the figure below, the belief that Hamas fighters have committed atrocities against civilians is higher among those who did watch videos showing such atrocities (17%) compared to those who did not (2%).

4. Possible ramifications of an Israeli ground invasion of Rafah:

We explored three possible ramifications of an Israeli invasion of Rafah: people rushing to cross the border with Egypt, perception of likely Egyptian police and army response to such development, and the likely behavior of the residents and displaced person when they see people crossing the border toward Egypt:

  • We asked the public to speculate about the likely behavior of Rafah residents and displaced persons in the event of an Israeli invasion of that city: would these people in this case rush to safety on the Egyptian side? While half of the West Bankers expect them to do so, only 24% of Gazans say residents and displaced person would rush towards the border and cross to safety in Egypt. In total, 40% said they think they would and 51% said they think they would not.
  • We then examined public perception of the likely behavior of the Egyptian army and police, on the other side of the border, when seeing masses of people rushing and crossing the border into Egypt. Findings show a majority of 61% thinks the Egyptian army and police would indeed shoot at those crossing the borders. Gazans are more likely than West Bankers to think so, 68% and 55% respectively.

  • We asked Gazans about their own behavior if they see people rushing toward the Egyptian border and seeing the separation barrier between Egypt and Rafah falling, would they leave home or shelter in search of safety and cross the borders with the others? Almost 70% said no, they would not; only 25% said yes, they would.

5. South Africa and the case of genocide at the International Court of Justice

  • We asked the public about its satisfaction or dissatisfaction with South Africa for bringing the case of genocide against Israel to the international Court of Justice (ICJ). The vast majority (78%) expressed satisfaction; only 19% expressed dissatisfaction. But almost two thirds of the public (65%) expressed dissatisfaction with the court’s decision that did not ask Israel to abide by a ceasefire; only 31% expressed satisfaction with the court’s decision. Moreover, only 37% expressed the belief that the ICJ would indeed eventually convict Israel of genocide. A majority of 59% said it did not expect the ICJ to issue such a conviction.
  • Finally, when asked if such conviction, if it happens, would contribute to force Israel to consider ending its occupation of the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, a majority of 72% said no; only 23% said yes. It is noticeable that Gazans, as shown below, show a little more satisfaction with the court’s decision and optimism regarding the likely court decision and the impact of such a decision on the larger question of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.  

6. Expectations regarding the ceasefire and who will win the war

  • We asked the public about its expectations for the following weeks and months regarding the war and the prospects for a ceasefire. The largest percentage (40%) expect Israel and Hamas to reach a permanent ceasefire while 27% expect the continuation of the war and 25% expect the expansion of the war to include other regional and non-regional states and actors. The expectations of a ceasefire is much higher in the West Bank than in the Gaza Strip, 50% and 27% respectively. The largest percentage of Gazans (38%) expects the war to continue while only 20% of West Bankers expect that.

  • As we did in December 2023, we asked in the current poll “who will win” this war. Today, the majority expects Hamas to win. But it is a little smaller majority than we found three months ago, 64% and 70% respectively. It is worth noting, as indicated in the figure below, that today, more Gazans expect Hamas to win than three months ago, 56% and 50% respectively. By contrast, today, less West Bankers expect Hamas to win than three months ago, 69% and 83% respectively. It is worth noting also that while almost no one in the West Bank expect Israel to win the current war, almost one fifth (19%) of Gazans expect Israel to win. The current percent of those Gazans who expect Israel to win is more than a third less than the case three months ago, 19% and 31% respectively.

7. “The Day After:” Who will rule Gaza after the war?

  • We asked the respondents to speculate about the party that will be in control of the Gaza Strip in the day after the end of the current war. Gazans and West Bankers agree by 59%, for each side, that it will be Hamas. This represents a drop of 5 points compared to our findings three months ago. The drop came from the West Bank, declining by 14 points while in the Gaza Strip the percentage of those who thought Hamas will be in control increased by 8 points. Only 5% think the Israeli army will be in control; 9% selected a PA under president Abbas, and another 9% selected the PA without Abbas; 2% selected one or more Arab country; and 2% selected the UN.
  • When asked about their own preferences for the party that should be in control in the Gaza Strip after the war, 59% (64% in the West Bank and 52% in the Gaza Strip) selected Hamas; 13% selected the PA without President Abbas; 11% selected the PA with Abbas; 3% selected one or more Arab country;1% selected the UN, and 1% selected the Israeli army. Three months ago, we asked an identical question, but with a slightly different set of options to choose from. At that time, a similar percentage (60% in total; 75% in the West Bank and 38% in the Gaza Strip) selected Hamas as the party preferred by the respondents to control the Gaza Strip after the war. The change in the preferences of the Gazans, with a 14-point increase among them selecting Hamas today, is one of the most intriguing findings of the current poll. But it is consistent with the increase, indicated above, in the percentage of Gazans who think Hamas will win the current war. This is particularly interesting because the opposite happened in the West Bank, with the preference for Hamas dropping significantly by 11 points.  Yet, this West Bank finding is consistent with the significant decrease by 14 points, also indicated above, in the percentage of West Bankers who think Hamas will win the war.

  • In another question involving speculation about the most likely scenario for the day after the war, the results were almost identical, to the question asked above, as 59% said Hamas will return to control the Gaza Strip. But unlike the first question above, 63% of the West Banker and only 52% in the Gazans expected that. The reason for the change has to do with the available set of scenarios we provided in which we omitted the option of a return of the PA without president Abbas and provided new possibilities, such as the establishment by Israel of local authorities, tribal and family control, the emergence of multiple armed groups.  The return of the PA under Abbas was expected by 11%, 6% expected Israel to establish local authorities, another 6% expected the Israeli army to assume control, 4% expected control by tribes and families, and another 4% expected the establishment of multiple armed groups. 
  • Here too we asked about preferences regarding these scenarios. Given the new choices, the most important change, compared to the earlier question, about preferences in the day after the war, has been the rise in the percentage that selected Hamas. As shown in the figure below, the return of Hamas reaches 63%, with a 7-point increase in the Gaza Strip compared to only 2-point increase in the West Bank. Gazans were also more likely to increase their support for the return of the PA, even if under Abbas’ control, with a 14-point rise. West Bankers increased their support for a PA under Abbas by only 3 points.

  • Our previous poll in December 2023 asked about the deployment of an Arab security contingent from Egypt and Jordan in the Gaza Strip. At that time, three months ago, we found a 70% opposition to the idea even if the forces were deployed to assist the PA security forces. In this poll, we asked about support for the “immediate deployment of an international force under the UN flag to temporarily police the Gaza Strip in order to end the current war and bring about an Israeli withdrawal.” Only one third supported this option and 63% opposed it. Support for it was higher in the West Bank than in the Gaza Strip (43% to 17% respectively). 

  • We also asked the respondents to speculate about attitudes of Gazans toward a possible deployment of Turkish forces in the Gaza Strip. But this scenario stated that such deployment would take place with Hamas’ approval and international cover and funding. The findings show the majority thinks Gazans would reject the idea. The assessment of Gazans however shows a split with 51% believing Gazans would welcome the deployment and 48% believing they would reject it.

  • Finally, we asked the public about if it is for or against an idea of a long-term vision for the day after in which the US and an Arab coalition comprising Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan would develop a plan that would strengthen the PA, restore negotiations based on the two-state solution, and bring about an Arab-Israeli peace and normalization. Almost three quarters (73%) said it stands against the idea and only 23% said it stands for it. It is worth noting that the support for the idea among Gazans is much higher than it is among West Bankers, 36% and 14% respectively.+

8. Satisfaction with relevant Palestinian, regional, and international actors:

  • The vast majority (83%) thinks the US administration repeated declarations about the reaching a two-state solution are not serious; only 15% (9% in the West Bank and 23% in the Gaza Strip) think they are serious.  
  • As we did in our previous poll, we asked in the current one about public satisfaction with the role played during the war by various Palestinian, Arab/regional, and international actors:
  1. On the Palestinian side, satisfaction with the role of Hamas remains stable at 70% (75% in the West Bank and 62% in the Gaza Strip) was the highest followed by the role played by Yehia Sinwar (61%; 68% in the West Bank and 52% in the Gaza Strip), Fatah (27%; 24% in the West Bank and 32% in the Gaza Strip), and president Abbas (14%; 8% in the West Bank and 22% in the Gaza Strip). As the figure below indicates, support for Hamas, while indeed stable for the total, has in fact dropped in the West Bank by 10 points, from 85% three months ago to 75% today. The opposite happened in the Gaza Strip: satisfaction with Hamas increased by 10 points. Satisfaction with Sinwar remains stable in the Gaza Strip and drops 13 points in the West Bank. Satisfaction with Fatah increases by 5 points for the total, 1 point in the West Bank and 11 points in the Gaza Strip. Finally, satisfaction with Abbas increases by 3 points, 1 point in the West Bank and 5 points in the Gaza Strip.

  1. For the Arab/regional actors, as in our previous poll, the highest level of satisfaction goes to Yemen (83%; 88% in the West Bank and 75% in the Gaza Strip), followed by Qatar (56%), Hizballah (48%), Iran (30%), Jordan (22%), and Egypt (12%). The following figure shows the distribution of satisfaction in the two polls over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In the Gaza Strip, the figure shows  a significant rise in satisfaction with Yemen and Qatar and a decrease in satisfaction with Hezbollah and Egypt. In the West Bank, the figure shows a rise in satisfaction with Hezbollah and a decrease in satisfaction with Qatar, Iran, Jordan, and Egypt. The regional Arab country that has lost satisfaction in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is Egypt, cut down by half to 12% for the total, 5% in the West Bank and 23% in the Gaza Strip.

  1. For the non-regional international actors, the highest level of satisfaction goes to Russia (19%, 21% in the West Bank and 16% in the Gaza Strip), followed by Canada and the UN (7% each), and the US (1%). The following figure shows a drop of 3 points in satisfaction with Russia for the total sample. The drop came from the Gaza Strip (12 points) while satisfaction with Russia in the West Bank increased by 4 points. Satisfaction with the US performance remains non-existent.  

9. What should the Palestinian Authority do? 

  • We asked about the policy measures that the PA leadership should take today to help address the current war in the Gaza Strip. Three policy options were provided. The largest percentage (42%) opted for bringing about an immediate reconciliation and reunification of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Secondly, selected by 37%, came the formation of a national unity government to negotiate with Israel and the international community the end of the war and the future reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. The third, selected by 14%, was for the PA to “lead the humanitarian service delivery to Gazans in cooperation with Egypt and the international community.”  It is worth noting that for Gazans, the formation of a national unity government has been the most preferred measure, while for West Bankers, it has been reconciliation and reunification of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. When compared to these two measures, both sides, West Bankers and Gazans, almost equally, viewed the humanitarian role as the least important.  

(2) Parliamentary and presidential elections and the domestic balance of power:

If a presidential competition is to take place between three, Marwan Barghouti from Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas, also from Fatah, and Ismael Haniyeh from Hamas, participation in the election would stand at 72%; vote for Marwan Barghouti would stand at 40%, the highest rate in the last three hypothetical elections since September 2023, followed by Haniyeh at 23%, and Abbas at 8%. Among the voters, Barghouti receives 56%, Haniyeh 32%, and Abbas 11%. Three months ago, support for Barghouti among the voters stood at 47% and Haniyeh at 43%, and Abbas at 7%. These findings show Barghouti’s vote increasing by 9 points while vote for Haniyeh drops by 11 points.

  • However, if the new presidential elections were held with only two candidates, Mahmoud Abbas from Fatah and Ismail Haniyeh from Hamas, competing, the voter turnout would drop to 52%; vote for Haniyeh would stand at 37% and Abbas at 11%. Among the voters, Haniyeh would receive 70% and Abbas 22%. Three months ago, the vote for Abbas among the voters stood at 16% and vote for Haniyeh stood at 78%.

  • But if the two presidential candidates were Marwan Barghouti from Fatah and Haniyeh from Hamas, participation would rise to 69%; 42% would vote for Barghouti and 26% for Haniyeh. Among the voters, Barghouti would receive 62% and Haniyeh 37%. These findings indicate a rise in the vote for Barghouti among voters by 11 points and a drop in the vote for Haniyeh by 8 points.  

  • If the two presidential candidates were Haniyeh from Hamas and a different Fatah candidate, prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, participation would drop to 53%; 13% would vote for Shtayyeh and 38% for Haniyeh. Among the voters, Shtayyeh receives 24% and Haniyeh 72%.

  • Finally, if the two presidential candidates were Haniyeh from Hamas and a non-Fatah candidate, Mustafa Barghouti, the leader of al Mubadara and a former presidential candidate, the voter turnout rises slightly to 56%; Mustafa Barghouti receives 23% and Haniyyeh 31%. Among the voters, Mustafa Barghouti receives 40% of the vote and Haniyyeh 56%.

  • In a closed question, we asked the public to select the person they prefer to see as President Abbas's successor. The largest percentage (40%) said they prefer Marwan Barghouti; 19% preferred Ismail Haniyeh; 10% chose Yahya al Sinwar; 6% chose Hussein al-Sheikh; 4% preferred Mohammed Dahlan, 2% preferred Khaled Meshaal, 1% chose Muhammad Shtayyeh, and 18% said they did not know or chose someone else. It is worth noting that the preference for Dahlan, al-Sheikh, and Shtayyeh comes almost only from the Gaza Strip.
  • Level of satisfaction with the performance of president Abbas stands at 16% and dissatisfaction at 81%. Satisfaction with Abbas stands at 8% in the West Bank (compared to 10% three months ago) and 27% in the Gaza Strip (compared to 19% three months ago).  Six months ago, before the October 7 war, satisfaction with Abbas stood at 22% and dissatisfaction at 76%.
  • 84% want Abbas to resign while 14% want him to remain in office. Three months ago, 88% said they want Abbas to resign. Six months ago, 78% wanted him to resign. Demand for Abbas' resignation today stands at 93% in the West Bank and 71% in the Gaza Strip.

  • When asked which political party or political trend they support, the largest percentage selected Hamas (34%), followed by Fatah (17%), while 11% selected other or third-party groups, and 37% said none of them or did not know. Three months ago, 43% supported Hamas and 17% selected Fatah. Six months ago, before the current war, support for Hamas stood at 22% and support for Fatah stood at 26%.This means that support for Hamas during the past three months has witnessed an 11-point drop while support for Fatah remained unchanged during the same period. In the West Bank, support for Hamas today stands at 35% (compared to 44% three months ago), and for Fatah at 12% (compared to 16% three months ago). In the Gaza Strip, support for Hamas today stands at 34% (compared to 42% three months ago) and support for Fatah at 25% (compared to 18% three months ago).

  • However, if new parliamentary elections were held today with the participation of all political forces that participated in the 2006 elections, only 64% say they would participate in them, 30% would vote for Hamas, 14% for Fatah, 6% for third parties, and 15% remain undecided. Among the voters, support for Hamas stands at 47%, Fatah 22%, third parties 9%, and the undecided at 24%. Compared to our findings three months ago, the current results among the voters indicate a 4-point drop by for Hamas and a 3-point rise by Fatah. In the Gaza Strip, vote for Hamas among the voters stands today at 45% (compared to 52% three months ago and 44% six months ago) and vote for Fatah among the voters stands today at 26% (compared to 21% three months ago and 32% six months ago). In the West Bank, vote for Hamas among the voters stands today at 48% (compared to 50% three months ago and 24% six months ago) and vote for Fatah among the voters stands today at 16% (compared to 18% three months ago and 40% six months ago).

  • 49% (compared to 54% three months ago) believe that Hamas is the most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people today while 17% (compared to 13% three months ago) believe that Fateh under the leadership of Abbas is more deserving; 29% (compared to 26% three months ago) believe both are unworthy of representation and leadership. Six months ago, 27% said Hamas is the most deserving, 24% said Fateh led by Abbas is the most deserving, and 44% said both are unworthy of representation and leadership.

(3) Domestic conditions, the resignation of Shtayyeh, and perception of safety and security:

  • We asked the public about the meaning of the resignation of the government of prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh: is it, in its view, a step toward reforming the PA? A majority of 62% said it is not and only 30% said it is. Gazans are more likely than West Bankers to view the resignation as a step toward reform, 41% and 23% respectively.  
  • In the aftermath of the resignation of prime minister Shtayyeh, two candidates emerged as the most likely successors: Mohammad Mustafa (reportedly favored by Abbas) and Salam Fayyad (reportedly favored by some regional and international donors). We asked the public, which of the two it favors: 55% said none of them; 22% favored Fayyad and 10% favored Mustafa. Eventually, after the completion of data collection, Mustafa was appointed by Abbas as his next prime minister.
  • We asked the public about the make-up and source of authority for the new government: a national unity government that would come under the control of a political party, control of president Abbas, or one that does not come under the control of Abbas or a political party. As the figure below shoes, 62% opted for the third choice while only a quarter selected the two other choices combined. It is worth noting that Gazans are less likely than West Bankers to go for the third choice.

  • A majority of 65% (compared to 68% three months ago) believes that the PA has become a burden on the Palestinian people and only 27% (compared to 28% three months ago) believe it is an asset for the Palestinian people. Six months ago, 62% said the PA is a burden and 35% said it was an achievement.
  • We asked the public in the West Bank about its personal and family safety and security. The findings show that only 11% feel safe and secure while 89% feel unsafe and unsecure. Three months ago, the perception of safety stood at 14% and six months ago at 48%.
  • Aljazeera is the most watched TV station in Palestine with 61% selecting it as the one they watched the most during the past two months. West Bankers are more likely than Gazans to watch Aljazeera as 45% of Gazans (compared to 10% in the West Bank) say they do not watch or have no access to TV these days. The second most popular TV station is Palestine Today (4%), followed by Alarabiyya and al Mayadeen (3% each), Palestine TV (2%), Alaqsa and Ma’an (1% each).

(4) Palestinian-Israeli Relations and the Peace process:

  • 45% support and 52% oppose the idea of a two-state solution, which was presented to the public without providing details of the solution. Three months ago, support for this solution in a similar question stood at 34% and six months ago support stood at 32%. In the current poll, support for this solution came from Gaza Strip, a 27-point increase while remaining stable in the West Bank at 34%.

  • Support for the two-state solution is usually linked to public assessment of the feasibility of such a solution and the chances for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Today, 61% (compared to 65% three months ago) believe the two-state solution is no longer practical due to settlement expansion but 37% (compared to 32% three months ago) believe it is still practical. Six months ago, 71% said that the two-state solution is no longer practical due to settlement expansion. Moreover, 72% believe that the chances for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel in the next five years are slim or nonextant, and 27% believe the chances are medium or high.
  • When asked about public support and opposition to specific policy measures to break the stalemate: 62% supported joining more international organizations; 45% supported resort to unarmed popular resistance; 55% supported a return to confrontations and armed intifada; 58% supported dissolving the PA; and 24% supported abandoning the two-state solution and demanding one state for Palestinians and Israelis. Three months ago, 69% supported a return to confrontations and armed intifada; 39% supported resort to unarmed popular resistance; 58% supported the dissolution of the PA; and 29% supported abandoning the two-state solution in favor of one state. Six months ago, before the current war, 58% supported a return to confrontations and armed intifada; 53% supported resort to unarmed popular resistance; 52% supported the dissolution of the PA; and 27% supported abandoning the two-state solution in favor of one state.
  • We offered the public three methods to end the Israeli occupation and establish an independent state and asked it to select the most effective. 46% (51% in the West Bank and 39% in the Gaza Strip) selected “armed struggle;” 25% (27% in the West Bank and 23% in the Gaza Strip) selected negotiations; and 18% (12% in the West Bank and 27% in the Gaza Strip) selected popular non-violent resistance. As shown in the figure below, these findings indicate a 17-point drop in support for armed struggle; a 5-point rise in support for negotiations; and a 5-point rise in support for non-violence.  The drop in three months in support for armed struggle comes equally from both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

  • Support and opposition to negotiations is seen in the results to a question about attitudes regarding “a return to Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations in order to achieve a two-state solution under international and Arab auspice.” Support for such return to negotiations received the support of 38% (46% in the Gaza Strip and 33% in the West Bank) of the public.

  • We asked the public about its willingness to compromise for the sake of peace: “if during negotiations, Israel agrees to make painful concessions to the Palestinian side, would you be willing in this case to support a similar Palestinian position in offering similar concessions to Israel?” A majority of 63% (70% in the West Bank and 52% in the Gaza Strip) said “no,” while only one third (33%; 46% in the Gaza Strip and 24% in the West Bank) said “yes.”
  • We asked the public to tell us what kind of role it thinks the international community can play in address the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The poll provided five different roles. The most popular role, receiving 39% support, was the one involving humanitarian assistance in providing basic needs of refugees and displaced persons; the second, receiving 29% support, was “mediation to bring the two sides to the negotiation table,” the third, receiving 11% support, was the provision of financial and socio-economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority; the fourth, with 8% support was the use of sanctions to force the parties to observe international law; and the fifth, with only 6% support, was building Palestinian public institutions.

  • When asked to select the Western country trusted the most in helping Palestine and Israel make peace, two thirds selected “none of the above.” The list provided included four countries: the US, Canada, France, and Germany. From among the four Canada came second, after the US, with 8% favoring it. France came third and Germany fourth.

  • We asked the public about its assessment of the potential impact of withholding financial support from UNRWA by some countries “because some of its staff have been accused of participating in Hamas’ October 7 offensive.” We asked the public to tell us if it thinks withholding support from UNRWA would contribute to increasing or decreasing the prospects for Palestinian-Israeli peace. The overwhelming majority thought the withholding of support would decrease the prospects for peace while only 5% thought it would do the opposite and increase the prospects for peace.

  • In light of the increase in settler terrorist attacks against Palestinian towns and villages, we asked West Bankers what means are most effective in combating this terrorism that are also the most feasible.
  • The largest percentage (41%) chose the formation of armed groups by residents of the targeted areas in order to protect their areas; 23% chose to deploy Palestinian police forces in the targeted areas; another 23% chose the demand that the Israeli army take measures to prevent settler terrorism; and only 8% chose the formation, by residents of the targeted areas, of unarmed groups to protect their areas. As the figure below indicates, these results show significant change compared to out findings three months ago. The most important change is a 15-point drop-in support for the formation of armed groups, an 8-point increase in the demand for protection by the PA police; and a 7-point increase in the demand for an Israeli army measures to stop the settlers.

    (5) Most vital Palestinian goals and the most pressing problems confronting Palestinians today:

    • 42% believe that the first most vital Palestinian goal should be to end Israeli occupation in the areas occupied in 1967 and build a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital. By contrast, 33% believe the first most vital goal should be to obtain the right of return of refugees to their 1948 towns and villages; 13% believe that the first and most vital goal should be to build a pious or moral individual and a religious society, one that applies all Islamic teachings; and 11% believe it should be to establish a democratic political system that respects freedoms and rights of Palestinians.
    • When asked about the most pressing problem confronting the Palestinians today, the largest percentage (56%; 66% in the Gaza Strip and 50% in the West Bank) said it is the continued war in the Gaza Strip; (23%) said it is the Israeli occupation; 8% said it is corruption;  6% said it is unemployment; and 5% said it is the split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Three months ago, (51%, 42% in the West Bank and 64% in the Gaza Strip) said it is the continued war in the Gaza Strip; and 32% said it is the Israeli occupation.