Julian Schvindlerman

A devastating survey in Palestine

A Palestinian stands on a burning tank after some 3,000 Hamas terrorists destroyed the border fence and entered Israel. October 7, 2023. (Yousef Mohammed/Flash90) - Source: The Times of Israel.
A Palestinian stands on a burning tank after some 3,000 Hamas terrorists destroyed the border fence and entered Israel. October 7, 2023. (Yousef Mohammed/Flash90) - Source: The Times of Israel.

Arab World Research and Development (AWRAD) is a Palestinian pollster based in Ramallah. Its Linkedin profile presents it as “a pioneering research, consulting, and development firm, and is considered one of the leading firms in the Arab region.” Led by Dr. Nader Said, it has a team of experts and field researchers in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Morocco, Oman, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. Between October 31 and November 7, it surveyed 668 Palestinians face to face in the West Bank and in three towns in southern Gaza (Deir Al Balah, Khan Younis and Rafah). The sample included all socioeconomic groups, with equal representation of adult men and women, and with proportional distribution in the West Bank and Gaza, the company indicated. Its margin of error was 4%.

The survey -contained in a Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs report by IDF Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch- yielded distressing results. 75% supported the Hamas massacre, while only 13% expressed opposition to it. Strikingly, support for the attacks was notably higher among Palestinians in the West Bank (68%) than among those in Gaza (47%). 75% supported establishing a national unity government after the war with Hamas in it. 68% said that their support for a two-state solution had decreased, while 23% said it had increased. 90% expressed themselves against coexistence with the Israelis, with only 7% in favor. 87% expressed disinterest in reaching a permanent peace agreement with Israel, while 9% said they favored such an agreement. Support for terrorist groups surpassed the positive assessment of moderate Arab nations. The highest rated actors were the Al Qassam Brigades (89%), the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (84%), the Al Aqsa Brigades (80%) and Hamas (76%). In contrast, respondents showed negative evaluations about entities or countries with peace treaties or that were moving toward a peace pact with Israel. This is how they rated, expressed as a percentage of favorable image, the Palestinian Authority (10%), Egypt (14%), Jordan (12%), Saudi Arabia (3%) and the United Arab Emirates (2%). 98% of Palestinians surveyed said they will never forget or forgive Israel’s actions in this war.

These findings give a scientific framework to the anecdotal evidence that emerged in recent weeks. Palestinian workers in Israel gave logistical information to Hamas before the attack. On October 7, Gazan civilians entered Israel to loot communities after the Hamas incursion. In the early hours of the invasion, Palestinian photojournalists working freelance for The New York Times, CNN, Reuters and AP were present at the border to film and photograph the ongoing massacre. Upon hearing of the raid, Gazans crowded into public areas to celebrate the killings of Israelis, cheered when Hamas members paraded through the streets of Gaza a half-naked German-Israeli young woman who had just been kidnapped, and on at least one occasion threw stones against a vehicle carrying freed hostages (“we thought they were going to lynch us on the way to Israel,” one of them told The Jerusalem Post). It was Palestinian civilians who captured and handed over to Hamas a Russian-Israeli hostage who had managed to escape, and it was a Palestinian employee of the UN refugee agency (UNRWA) who held an Israeli hostage in the attic of his house for 50 days. The Palestinian prisoners released by Israel as per the exchange agreement with Hamas were received as heroes at popular celebrations, and it is worth remembering that they were imprisoned for having tried to murder Israelis. Horrifyingly, when a Hamas terrorist –in the midst of the massacre– called his parents using the cell phone of one of his victims to boast “Look how many I killed with my own hands! Your son killed Jews!” His father replied “Allah is great” and his mother told him “I wished I were with you”.

This panorama is bleak: it reveals a Palestinian society opposed to peace with Israel, strongly appreciative of the terrorist groups within it, sympathetic to the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7, and even exposes undetermined portions of Gazan society as collaborationists of the jihadist regime that governs them. The implications for an international diplomacy effort increasingly focused on reactivating the much-heralded two-state solution are evident. In this environment, they anticipate a new failure –just as it has been happening for the last 75 years.

About the Author
Julian Schvindlerman is an Argentine writer and journalist specializing in Middle East affairs. He lectures on World Politics at the University of Palermo (in Buenos Aires) and is a regular contributor to Infobae and Perfil. He is the editor of Coloquio, the flagship publication of the Latin American Jewish Congress. He is the author of Escape to Utopia: Mao's Red Book and Gaddafi's Green Book; The Hidden Letter: A History of an Arab-Jewish Family; Triangle of Infamy: Richard Wagner, the Nazis and Israel; Rome and Jerusalem: Vatican policy toward the Jewish state; and Land for Peace, Land for War.
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