Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas on Monday referred to the last three months of violence as a "justified popular uprising," saying that young Palestinian demonstrators were "driven by despair (at the fact) that a two-state solution is not coming."
Israel condemned Abbas's comment. "There can never be justification for wanton attacks on civilians like we saw today," said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev.
Meanwhile, a new poll released on Monday found that two-thirds of Palestinians support the ongoing wave of stabbings against Israelis.
Sixty-seven percent back the use of knives, while 66 percent of those asked (71 percent in the Gaza Strip and 63 percent in the West Bank) said an armed intifada or uprising would "serve Palestinian national interests in ways that negotiations could not," the survey by the respected Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) found.
At the same time, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) said they opposed the involvement of "young school girls" in stabbings. When asked what they thought motivated young school girls to commit attacks, 41 percent said they believe they were nationalistically motivated, 26 percent said the motivation was personal, and 16 percent said the motivation was religious. Eleven percent said it was a combination of national and religious motivations.
About half of the Palestinian public (51 percent) think most of the Palestinians shot dead by Israel have in fact stabbed or attempted to stab Israelis, while 47 percent thought most of them have not stabbed or attempting to stab Israelis.
The PSR survey, which interviewed 1,270 people in 127 randomly selected locations, showed just 45 percent of Palestinians support the two-state solution while 65 percent think it is no longer feasible because of the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
The great majority of Palestinians (90 percent) said Israel does not abide by the Oslo Accord, and 68 percent were in favor of abandoning the agreement.
A little over half of Palestinians (52 percent) believe that abandoning the Oslo Accord will force Israel to abandon its current settlement policy and agree to enter serious negotiations, while 37 percent believe that a Palestinian suspension of its Oslo obligations will lead to PA collapse and the return of the Israeli civil administration.
According to the survey, 65 percent of Palestinians also want Abbas to resign, and if presidential elections took place he would lose to Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip.
Abbas's mandate expired in 2009 but no vote is scheduled because of divisions between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas.
"The Palestinian public thinks Abbas does not support the current confrontation and is not serious (pursuing) diplomatic confrontation with Israel, which is why he is losing support," Khalil Shikaki, head of the PSR, told AFP.
He added that the poll suggests violence will continue during 2016, with the possible involvement of more heavily armed militants.
"The armed militants in refugee camps, including Fatah (Abbas's party) have not moved so far, but a change in behavior of Israeli forces, the loss of legitimacy of leaders and a process of demoralization within Palestinian security forces could lead to more attacks," Shikaki warned.
The poll's margin of error is ±3 percent.
Ynetnews contributed to this report.