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Peace Without Hamas?

September 25, 2009

hamas_rally.jpg

According to International Peace Institute’s (IPI) new poll conducted in both Hamas-ruled Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank administered by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement, Palestinians still offer substantial support for the Islamist Hamas group for being “the party of resistance”.

IPI said 55 percent of Palestinians favor a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, which shows a shift in Palestinian public opinion towards greater willingness to accept “the overall package and of provisions for Israeli withdrawal, Palestinian demilitarization, and mutual recognition.”

So, most Palestinians want a state of their own through a peace deal with Israel. But at the same time, a significant percentage back Hamas which refuses to recognise Israel and will only consider a long-term truce, not a peace treaty creating two states.  Elections are due next year and if this poll is right, Fatah will win but hardly by a landslide.

It shows Palestinians are still ambivalent about their choice of leadership. Poll results show Abbas winning a head-to-head election against Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh with 52 percent, which it calls a “narrow margin”.

Click below to see a massive Hamas rally celebrating the Islamist group’s 21st anniversary on December 14, 2008:

(PHOTO: Palestinians take part in a Hamas rally to mark the 61st anniversary of Nakba in the northern Gaza Strip May 15, 2009. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem.)

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