Palestinian Authority Arabs’ support for rocket fire by Gaza terrorists on southern Israel has fallen sharply over the past four months, according to a survey published Wednesday and reported by the AFP news agency.
"Support for firing locally-made rockets from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli regions has dropped," a poll by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center said, indicating it had fallen to 38.4 percent, from 74 percent in December, just weeks after the end of a major confrontation with Israel.
The eight-day Pillar of Defense counter terror operation, which ended with an Egyptian-brokered truce on November 21, saw the Israeli Air Force targeting Hamas in Gaza as terrorists there fired more than 1,000 rockets at Israeli communities.
The truce has been largely respected although in recent weeks hardline Salafi Islamists have again begun to fire rockets at southern Israeli communities.
Of 1,179 PA residents interviewed in Gaza and in Judea (Yehuda) and Samaria (Shomron), which are controlled by the rival Fatah faction, 60.2 percent said "military action" harmed Palestinian national interests.
And the percentage of people backing “military operations” against Israel, dropped from 50.9 to 31.1 percent from December to March.
On the issue of peace negotiations with Israel, almost two-thirds -- 65.1 percent -- said the Palestinian leadership should only return to talks if there is a freeze on construction for Israelis in Judea and Samaria.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly said there will be no new talks without a freeze that would include major Israeli cities, and several other preconditions, including the release of terrorist prisoners. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has rejected Abbas’ demands but says Israel remains ready to talk without preconditions.
But while most PA residents -- 36.8 percent -- see talks as the best way to end the occupation and create an independent state, a growing number of people believe that non-violent resistance is the way forward, with 30.4 percent in favor, up from 21.9 percent in the previous survey.
Meanwhile, if elections were held today, 42.6 percent said they would vote for Fatah compared with 20.6 for Hamas, in what was an increase of several percentage points for Fatah at Hamas's expense, since the November operation.
The survey was conducted from March 27 to 31 and with an error margin of three percent.