POST-WAR HAMAS SUPPORT SURGES IN BOTH GAZA & WEST BANK

By ZE’EV BEN-YECHIEL
Tazpit News Agency

ScreenHunter_111 Sep. 02 23.10Support for Hamas has surged among Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza following Operation Defensive Edge, according to the results of a survey published on Tuesday. The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) found that 61% of those polled would choose Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh over Mahmoud Abbas. Only 32 percent said they would vote for the PA leader.

The poll of 1,270 Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza began on August 26, the last day of this summer’s war, and continued over the next four days. It shows an increase in support for the terror group over the course of the war.

Some 79 percent surveyed in this poll said they believe that Hamas won the Gaza war, and it may have been this perception that led 72 percent of respondents to say that they support Hamas’s approach of violent resistance and would like to see it implemented in the West Bank. “Indeed, an overwhelming majority of West Bankers wants to transfer ‘Hamas’ way’ to the West Bank and rejects the demand to disarm the Islamist group or to disband the other Gazan armed groups,” read the report from the PCPSR.

The group also reported that for the first time in eight years, more people voiced support for Haniyeh than for Marwan Barghouti, the arch-terrorist currently serving 67 consecutive life sentences in Israeli prison and for years the most consistently popular political figure among Arabs in Judea and Samaria.

An overwhelming majority of 86 percent of respondents said they support the renewal of rocket attacks on Israel if Hamas’s demands are not met. Of those polled, roughly 40 percent were residents of the Gaza Strip and 60 percent were from Judea and Samaria, PCPSR told Tazpit News Agency.

Of all respondents, 54 percent said that they supported the murder of the three kidnapped Israeli teens, while 42 percent opposed it. Among Gazans, 69 percent said they supported the killings, while only 42 percent of Judea and Samaria residents were in favor and 52 percent against the murders.

The conclusions of the poll noted that “if presidential elections were to take place today, Ismail Haniyeh would easily win over Abbas and Hamas would win the largest percentage of the popular vote in parliamentary elections.” The study also found that “the overwhelming majority of the public views Hamas as the winner and Israel as the loser in this war,” and that a “majority views Hamas’ approach of armed confrontation with Israel as the most effective means” of dealing with Israel.

Professor Mordechai Kedar, a scholar of Arabic literature and lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, believes that support for Hamas is much higher in Judea and Samaria than in Gaza. “The West Bank doesn’t suffer from Hamas,” he told Tazpit, so they have the luxury of supporting the group. On the other hand, he added, they do suffer from the current PA administration.

Kedar pointed out the unreliability of surveys conducted in the Arab world, where people often live in fear of dictatorial governments and respond to such polls according to what they think the government wants them to say.

In the case of this poll, however, he said that the Arabs in Judea and Samaria do not feel a similar fear towards the PA and are relatively forthright in voicing their criticisms, because they perceive the PA as an “illegitimate puppet government with no effective power or any potential to be their benefactors.” He added that Abbas and his sons are perceived as extremely corrupt, further weakening their prestige among the local population.

REPORTS: ABBAS TO DEMAND ISRAELI WEST BANK WITHDRAWAL WITHIN 3 YEARS

ScreenHunter_107 Sep. 02 15.46Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is set to unveil a plan for a return to negotiations with Israel over a nine-month period. Abbas’s plan will propose an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank in three years, reports say.

The plan was revealed by former PA religious affairs minister and close Abbas advisor Mahmoud al-Habbash, who said Abbas plans to reveal the plan at an Arab League meeting on Sept. 7. Senior PA advisors have already discussed the plan with European leaders and will do the same with American officials.

Continue reading REPORTS: ABBAS TO DEMAND ISRAELI WEST BANK WITHDRAWAL WITHIN 3 YEARS

CAMERON BLASTS WEST BANK LAND EXPANSION PLAN

Israel’s decision to grab nearly 1,000 acres of Palestinian land to build settlements was condemned by David Cameron yesterday as ‘utterly deplorable’.

Israel announced on Sunday that an area of the West Bank, near existing settlements at Etzion, south of Bethlehem, has been designated as ‘state land’ which means it can be used for homes for Israelis.

Continue reading CAMERON BLASTS WEST BANK LAND EXPANSION PLAN

WEST BANK TERROR ATTACKS UP

(TAZPIT NEWS AGENCY) – The IDF, in a summary of its activities in Judea and Samaria over the course of 2013, counted 62 terror attacks, in comparison with 35 attacks over the course of 2012. The volume of attacks has increased considerably over 2013, however the IDF points out that this is still nowhere close to amount of attacks Israel suffered during the Second Intifada. It is of significance to point out that when citing these numbers the IDF does not take into consideration the potentially-lethal stone and Molotov cocktail attacks which the Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria are attacked with daily.

The attacks of 2013 were characterized by the advent of the ”lone assailant,” terrorists who are not part of a broader infrastructure or existing terror network. Most of the perpetrators have been captured by the security forces. “This shows that we do our utmost to catch those who try to harm us,” said a senior Judea and Samaria Division officer said. ,

There has been an increase of criminal incursions into communities in Judea and Samaria. One of the causes for this is the dire financial state in the Palestinian Authority. Another reason is the general sense of stability which enables the thieves more self-confidence. “The more the situation is stable the less intimidated invaders feel and the less threatened they feel while prowling around the communities. We treat every incursion as a terrorist attacks,” the officer added.

The report stresses that the attacks mentioned are not a part of a broader so-called popular uprising. “There is an increase, but it is moderate and under control,” the officer explained.

“An Intifada consists of a much higher volume and intensity of attacks,” the officer explained. “There are disturbances, but in a broader perspective we are nowhere close to where we were during the Second Intifada. We don’t expect an escalation in the near future,” he said.

JORDAN VALLEY ANNEXATION BILL ADVANCES

At a time when delicate maneuvering is underway toward a possible peace pact with the Palestinians, a bill that would annex the Jordan Valley portion of the West Bank takes one step closer to approval in the Knesset. That being said, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to vigorously oppose its ultimate passage.

WEST BANK SETTLEMENT HOMES APPROVED

This won’t sit well with Palestinian negotiators nor probably with the United States which is brokering peace talks. Israel’s housing minister approving the construction of 1,000 new housing units in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. The Palestinians want the Israelis to give up more land for peace so this is disappointing to them. The timing could upset Middle East peace talks.