An overwhelming majority of Palestinian Arabs support the recent spate of terrorist attacks against Israelis, an opinion poll released Tuesday finds, according to The Associated Press (AP).
The poll also found that more than half of Palestinian Arabs support a new “intifada” (uprising) against Israel, and that Hamas would win presidential elections if they were held today.
Palestinian Arab pollster Khalil Shikaki said the results reflected anger over Israeli statements about Jerusalem, as well as a loss of hope following the collapse of U.S.-brokered peace talks and Israel's recent war with Hamas in Gaza.
Shikaki heads the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, which interviewed 1,270 people in the Palestinian Authority-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria and Gaza last week. The poll had an error margin of 3 percentage points.
"There is an environment in which violence is becoming a dominant issue," Shikaki told AP. "This seems to be one of the most important driving forces."
There has been a spate of attacks in Jerusalem over the past month and a half, at a time of rising tensions over the Temple Mount. The wave of attacks has come to be known as the “silent intifada”.
The poll found 86 percent of respondents believe the Al-Aqsa mosque is in “grave danger” from Israel. It said 80 percent supported individual attacks by Arabs who have stabbed Israelis or rammed cars into crowded train stations.
Islamists have been regularly clashing with Israeli police on the Temple Mount and escalated a campaign of harassment against Jewish visitors, who are already under severe restrictions due to Muslim pressure. The violence reached a peak with the recent attempted murder of prominent Jewish Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick.
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has blamed Israel for the ongoing tensions in Jerusalem.