Approximately 60 percent of the Palestinians support a renewal of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, a poll published Wednesday by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion Polls revealed.
The poll also revealed that for the first time since 1997, Palestinians' support for Hamas has dropped. The movement received 22 percent of public support in the current poll compared to an average of 27 percent in previous polls.
Fatah, on the other hand, grew stronger and received 37.5 percent of public support.
Approximately 55 percent of the respondents said that they support the Rafah crossings deal compared to about 36 percent who said they oppose the agreements.
When asked about their participation in the general elections expected to be held in January, 76 percent of the respondents said that they intend on voting.
'A change in Palestinian public opinion'
The poll also revealed that 33.7 percent of the respondents noted that the most suitable person to head Fatah's list to the elections is Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti, who is serving his prison term in Israel.
Dr. Nabil Kokali, who conducted the poll, told Ynet that the poll's findings are also influenced by the political developments in Israel.
"There is no doubt that the election of a dovish leader for the Labor party, Sharon withdrawal from the Likud and the latest political developments have renewed the Palestinians' support of the peace process," he said.
"Approximately 60 percent of support is a very high percentage, which points to increasing optimism among the Palestinians. The latest poll revealed that approximately 70 percent of respondents expressed their objection to the recent terror attack in Hadera," he added.
Dr. Kokali estimated that "There is a change in the Palestinian public opinion toward supporting the political process, as a result of the latest developments, and especially the talks about additional moves between the two sides, such as additional withdrawals by Israel from more Palestinian cities."
As for the drop in the public support for Hamas, Dr. Kokali said that the incidents in Gaza, including the bombing two months ago in a Hamas rally, in which more than 20 Palestinians were killed, explains the drop in the support the movement receives from the public.