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Photo: AP
Photo: Israel Police
Marwan Barghouti
Photo: Israel Police
Poll: 2/3 of Palestinians against rocket attacks
Survey conducted in West Bank and Gaza finds most Palestinian want Barghouti as president if Abbas retires; small majority supports direct talks with Israel

Some 68% of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza do not want Hamas to resume its rocket attacks on Israel, while 25.5% believe the attacks against Israel's southern communities should be resumed, according to a survey conducted by the Ramallah-based Arab World for Research & Development (AWRAD) organization.

 

The poll's findings, which are based on answers by 1,200 respondents, indicate that 35.4% of Palestinians residing in Hamas-ruled Gaza are interested in resuming the attacks, while only 19.5% of Palestinians in the West Bank share this opinion.

 

Some 66% of all Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank want Hamas to continue upholding the unofficial ceasefire declared following Israel's offensive in Gaza, while 25.7% hope the Islamist group will violate the truce.

 

According to the survey, if elections for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority were held today, reigning president Mahmoud Abbas would be re-elected with 30.9% of the votes, 14.3% of Palestinians would vote for Marwan Barghouti (currently serving five life sentences in Israel), 10.4% would vote for Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, while Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad would receive only 8.4% of the votes.

 

Abbas has already announced his plans to retire, and Barghouti has been mentioned as one of the so-called heavy prisoners Hamas wants Israel to release in exchange for captive soldier Gilad Shalit.

 

Asked who they would vote for in case Abbas does retire, 26.5% of respondents said Barghouti, 20.6% said they would vote for Fayyad, while 12% said they would support Haniyeh.

 

As for the peace process, the poll showed that 47.6% of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are in favor of direct negotiations with Israel, while 46.6% are against direct talks.

 

Some 51% of the West Bank's Palestinians and 41% of those residing in Gaza support direct talks, the poll showed.

 

The survey also found that 26.6% of Palestinians believe Palestinian society is heading in the right direction, while 67.2% believe the contrary.

 

The survey showed that the residents of Gaza are more pessimistic than the West Bank's Palestinians: 79.8% of Gaza's Palestinians believe Palestinian society is deteriorating, while only 59.7% of Palestinians in the West Bank share this view.

 

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