A majority of Palestinians say they support rocket attacks on Israel and nearly half favor renewing an armed intifada, according to a new public opinion poll.
The poll from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research released Tuesday found that 68 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza said they support launching rockets from Gaza at Israel if Israel does not lift its Gaza blockade.
The poll also found that 48 percent said they support returning to an armed intifada, or uprising, in the absence of viable peace negotiations.
Sixty-eight percent of Palestinians surveyed said they favored “popular nonviolent resistance.”
“A majority of 74 percent favors Hamas way of resisting occupation. … Furthermore, 56 percent favor the transfer of Hamas’ armed approach to the West Bank and 40 percent oppose that," the center noted.
The poll was released amid the backdrop of Obama administration criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blaming him for lack of prospects for peace.
President Barack Obama told reporters Tuesday that "the issue has never been, do you create a Palestinian state overnight. The question is, do you create a process and a framework that gives the Palestinians hope, the possibility, that down the road they have a secure state of their own, standing side-by-side with a secure, fully recognized Jewish state of Israel. And I think — it's not just my estimation — I think it’s hard to envision how that happens based on the prime minister’s statements.”
During the final days of his re-election campaign last week, Netanyahu said he would cede no more land to the Palestinians and that there would not be a Palestinian state created on his watch.
Netanyahu later said that while he did support a “peaceful” two-state solution, he believes that under the current circumstances, land that Israel vacates would invite attack from radical Islamist militants.
Some in Israel have perceived Obama’s criticism of Netanyahu as a swipe at Israeli voters who last week chose his Likud party as the largest party in the Knesset, positioning him to serve his third consecutive term as prime minister.
By contrast, Middle East watchers rely on public opinion polls to gauge sentiments in the West Bank and Gaza, because the Palestinians have not held presidential elections since 2005.
Other findings from the survey showed a “significant decline” in the belief that Hamas was victorious in last summer’s war with Israel.
Palestinians are nearly split on the concept of a two-state solution, one state of Palestinians and one for Israelis, with 51 percent in favor of a two-state solution and 48 percent opposed.
Only 39 percent of Palestinians interviewed support recognizing Israel as the state for the Jewish people in return for an Israeli recognition of Palestine as the state for the Palestinian people.
The survey interviewed 1,262 adults in person in the West Bank and Gaza between March 19-21, with a margin of error of 3 percent.