Yasser Arafat, who led hundreds of terrorist attacks against Jews, is the most trusted personality among Palestinian Authority Arabs even though he died nearly five years ago, according to a new poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media & Communications Center.
Answers to the open-ended question, “Which Palestinian personality do you trust the most?” also revealed that de facto Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is more popular than PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. In third place is Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life terms in an Israeli prison for involvement in several terrorist attacks that killed dozens of Israelis.
Arafat was more trusted than Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas minister and trailed behind Khaled Mashaal, the Syrian-based leader of the Hamas terrorist movement, by less than one percent.
PA analyst Wafa Amr, based in Ramallah, said that support for Hamas now is higher in Judea and Samaria than it is in Gaza, according to a report published in the London Times.
Abbas’s popularity dropped sharply following his about-face position on the Goldstone Report that accused Israel of war crimes in the Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign 10 months ago. Abbas originally backed the position of the United States government and recommended that the United Nations defer adopting the report, but reversed his stand following unprecedented harsh criticism.
Last week, the United Nations Human Rights Council officially adopted the report, which now goes to the U.N. General Assembly and Security Council for further consideration.