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Support for armed struggle among Palestinians is increasing

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The war waged by Israel against Hamas in the Gaza Strip contributes to increasing Palestinian support for Hamas and the armed struggle, according to Walid Ladadwa of the Opinion Polling Institute at the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. The photo shows explosions and smoke after the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip on February 11 this year, as seen from the Israeli side of the border. Photography: Ariel Shalit/AP/NTB

An opinion poll showed that a growing number of Palestinians support the armed struggle to end the Israeli occupation.

The poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research shows that support for the armed struggle rose within three months by 8 percentage points, reaching 54 percent of the population in the West Bank and Gaza.

Meanwhile, support for Hamas also rose by 6 percentage points to 40 percent. Fatah, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, enjoys the support of 20 percent of the Palestinians.

The survey was conducted eight months after the start of the war with terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 1,200 people and the taking of about 250 hostages. Since then, Israel has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians.

According to the poll, two-thirds of those surveyed believe that the attack last October was the right decision, a decrease of 4 percentage points. The decline was in Gaza, where 57% supported the attack, while 71% supported it in March.

Walid Ladadwa, director of the Survey Institute, says that the increase in support for Hamas and the armed struggle is a result of the devastating war that Israel is waging, even if the increase is not significant.

It is believed that the answers show dissatisfaction with the Palestinian Authority's strategy of trying to achieve a Palestinian state through negotiations. The autonomous authority rejects armed struggle.

While Abbas focused on negotiations, Israel has expanded settlements in the occupied West Bank and opposed the establishment of a Palestinian state, so the peace process appears to be dying.

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More than 60 percent of those surveyed support the dissolution of the autonomous authority, while 89 percent want Abbas to step down, compared to 84 percent in March.

Read also: Violent Israeli air strikes: 20 wounded

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