Daily Israel Report

Poll: Young PA Arabs want Sharia Law, Seek Iran as Ally

A poll of young PA Arab adults find that most want an Islamic state, and Iran is the most popular ally.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 10/27/2010, 5:19 PM / Last Update: 10/27/2010, 7:12 PM

Flash 90

A poll conducted by the Palestinian Authority-based Palestinian Center for Research and Cultural Dialogue (PCRD) found that young PA Arabs want to live in a country run by Islamic law, and a plurality sees Iran as its natural ally.

One thousand Arab men and women ages 18 to 30 who live in Judea and Samaria were polled for the survey, which was conducted in October.

The populace polled lives under the PA, dominated by the secular Fatah group, but 38.3% of them said they wish to live in a state governed by Islamic law (Sharia). An additional 34.7% said the state should be run using a combination of Sharia law and civil law.

Only 22.9% expressed support for the use of secular law in a future Arab state in Judea and Samaria. Less than half expressed support for a democratic regime, while 28.1% want an Islamic regime where all parties are based on Islamic principles, and 17.2% want an Islamic theocracy with just one party.

Respondents were slightly more flexible when asked what type of government should be in place in what was called “historic Palestine” --  a term referring to the entire state of Israel, including Judea and Samaria. 34.7% said Islamic law should rule a binational state that includes Israel as well, while 20.2% said they would be willing to live in a secular state as long as it was officially Muslim.

The most popular potential PA ally was Iran, which 18.7% chose as “the best ally to Palestinians in the long run.” The second most popular ally was Jordan, with 18.1% support, followed by Saudi Arabia, with 10.7% support.

Western countries had fewer supporters, but still made the list: 2.3% said they would ally with the United States, 3.1% chose Germany, and 5.7% chose Japan. “Scandinavian Countries” was the most popular choice for a potential ally outside the Muslim world, with 7.5% support.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party won the most support from young voters, but was closely followed by “none of the above.” 39.1% said they support Fatah, while close to 31% said they do not support any existing PA party, and more than 40% said they would support the establishment of a new party. 9.8% said they support Hamas.

The left-leaning Israeli paper Ha'aretz chose to emphasize the poll's findings regarding PA democracy, while ignoring the results showing Iran's popularity, and respondents' lack of interest in democracy. The poll found that most young PA Arabs see the PA as having “good” or “average” performance when it comes to democracy, and 71% are satisfied with the state of human rights.