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PoliticsMiddle East

West Bank Palestinians more supportive of Hamas: poll

Ralph Martin
December 28, 2023

As the death toll from Israel's military offensive in Gaza rises and settler violence increases, Palestinian opinion polls show increased support for the militant Hamas group in the occupied West Bank. At the same time, the Palestinian Authority, which rules the West Bank, is losing popularity.


[Video transcript]

A pro-Hamas rally in the occupied West Bank. For years, few people in the Palestinian territory supported the group, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by the EU and US. Three months of war have changed that. 

In September, support for Hamas was just 12 percent in the West Bank and 38 percent in Gaza. But in December that support rose to 44 percent in the West Bank and 42 percent in Gaza. The pollling in Gaza was conducted by Palestinian political scientist Khalil Shikaki, mainly in-person during the cease-fire earlier this month — reaching people by telephone in the besieged territory is almost impossible.

The poll also shows that Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority — which officially governs the West Bank — is extremely unpopular. Only 11 percent approve of him. 

Meanwhile, the war has also brought an increase in tensions and violence between Israeli security forces, settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank, further radicalizing the population there, many of whom see Gazans as heroes and say Hamas was right to attack Israel.

The US has said it envisions a post-war future where the Palestinian Authority governs Gaza. But as Hamas gains popularity, the idea of a Gaza run by the P.A. seems less and less viable.