A poll released this week by the World Public Opinion polling group showed the Palestinian Authority leading several other Arab and Muslim countries in hatred for the United States, belief that the United States is battling Islam and support for attacks on American civilians.
The poll was conducted in 2007 and 2008 among residents of Egypt, Indonesia, Morocco and Pakistan, and in 2008 among residents of Azerbaijan, Iran, Jordan, Turkey and Palestinian Authority-controlled areas in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Nigerian Muslims were polled as well.
The survey also showed a slight increase in support for terrorism and attacks on US civilians in countries where the poll was conducted in both 2007 and 2008.A total of 638 PA Arabs were questioned for the poll, and the margin of error regarding their responses was four percent.
Among the findings:
A full 88 percent of PA Arabs said spreading Christianity in the Middle East was “definitely” or “probably” one of the United States' foreign policy goals, with PA residents the most likely to support this claim. Muslims in Turkey, Jordan and Pakistan were also likely to hold this belief, with between 70-80 percent of respondents in those countries answering that the spread of Christianity was “definitely” or “probably” a US goal.
Eighty-nine percent of PA respondents said the US was “definitely” or “probably” trying to control Middle East oil resources, a percent similar to that in other Muslim countries. Seventy percent said the US was “definitely” hoping to divide and weaken the Muslim world.
Over 50 percent said the US was “definitely” or “probably” interested in creating “an independent and economically viable” PA state. However, 90 percent said the US was also planning to expand Israel's borders.
Forty-nine percent said the US “purposely tries to humiliate the Islamic world.”
When asked about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, 42 percent of PA respondents said they believed Al Qaeda or another Muslim terrorist group was behind the attacks, while 27 percent blamed the American government.
PA Arabs were the least likely to say they disapproved of all terrorist groups that attack Americans and were the most likely to express full or mixed approval for such groups. Fourteen percent of those PA Arabs surveyed fell into the former category, while 53 percent said they supported some terrorist groups that attack US citizens and 30 percent said they approve of “most or all” such groups.
Jordan was in second place in support of anti-US terror, with 20 percent of respondents saying they approve “most or all” groups that attack the US and 42 percent saying they approve of some such groups.
Sixty-seven percent of PA Arabs said they strongly approve of attacks on US troops in Iraq, and 23 percent said they somewhat approve. Only five percent reported that they “somewhat” or “strongly” disapprove. Sixty-one percent expressed strong support for attacks on US troops in the Persian Gulf; six percent disapproved.
While a much lower percentage expressed support for attacks on US civilians inside the United States, PA Muslims still led other respondents by a wide margin, with 10 percent expressing “strong approval” of such attacks, 14 percent “somewhat” approving, and 15 percent with mixed feelings.