A new poll is out, according to which support for Hamas among West-Bank Palestinians has risen dramatically since December. In the previous poll, when asked who should be president, the current Fatah leader Mohammed Abbas or Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, West Bankers picked Abbas, 56 percent to 37. In the new poll, Haniyeh edges Abbas, 46 percent to 45.
I am sure that some people will want to read this as an indictment of Israeli incursions against Hamas in Gaza, which are said to encourage sympathetic fanaticism in the West Bank. But this does not square well with the fact that it was Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza that triggered Hamas’ electoral victory and subsequent Gaza takeover to begin with.
What the poll does suggest, rather, is that the Palestinians do not seem to have very sound instincts when choosing their leaders. What, exactly, has Haniyeh given his people in Gaza? War, poverty, humiliation, bloodshed, international isolation. The misery of Gazans is the direct result of Haniyeh’s bloodthirsty compulsions (what in American politicics would be called “policies.”) Why do people in the West Bank want that?
Or is it honor? Ah yes. We know about their honor issues.