Two new public opinion polls reveal that in the wake of the recent Gaza war, Palestinians are even more in favor of violence against Israel, and would hand Hamas the reins of the Palestinian Authority if elections were held today.
A poll conducted by the Ramallah-based Arab World for Research & Development found that an overwhelming 87.7 percent of Palestinian Arabs either agree or strongly agree that "armed struggle, as adopted by Hamas, is the best means of achieving Palestinian independence."
These numbers are up after the eight-day conflict in and around Gaza last month, which saw Israel hastily agree to a ceasefire even as Hamas was still bombarding Israeli cities.
As the rulers of Gaza, Hamas immediately claimed victory, and has been reaping the benefits every since.
A second poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that if elections were held today, Hamas would again win a majority in the parliament and Gaza-based leader Ismail Haniyeh would defeat Western-backed Mahmoud Abbas for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority.
Even in the so-called "West Bank," which is Abbas' power base, Haniyeh would win an equal number of votes as the current Palestinian leader.
The results of these polls again shows how the Palestinian Authority's failure to educate its population for peace has set the stage for perpetual conflict. Even if a peace agreement can be signed, the public has been conditioned to rally around any leader or group that can prove an ability to harm Israel.