Special Report: Palestine-Israel Conflicts
GAZA, March 9 (Xinhua) -- A Palestinian poll
published on Monday said that the popularity of Islamic Hamas movement in the
Palestinian territories increased since the end of a 22-day Israeli military
offensive on Gaza on Jan. 18.
The poll conducted in early March by the Palestinian
Policy Institute said that Ismail Haneya, the deposed prime minister of Hamas
government in Gaza, has become slightly more popular than West-supported
President Mahmoud Abbas.
Since the beginning of the Israeli military air and
ground offensive on the Gaza Strip, Haneya as well as most senior Hamas leaders
have been hiding underground in fear that Israeli might target them.
The poll said that Haneya was supported by 47 percent
of the nearly 1,300 surveyed, as opposed to 45 percent for Abbas. Before the
operation on Gaza, Abbas was more popular by a margin of 10 percent.
However, the poll said if Israel frees jailed Fatah
member Marwan Barghouti, Abbas would get 61 percent of the vote, as opposed to
34 percent for Haneya.
On the whole, Fatah strength was down two percentage
from December's 40 percent, while Hamas support rose from 28 percent to33
percent, said the poll.
Two thirds believed that a Hamas election victory
would lead Israel to tighten controls on Hamas-controlled areas, while a similar
number said that a Fatah victory would not bring an end to the blockage of
supplies to Gaza.
Seventy-one percent of those surveyed by the
Palestinian poll acknowledged that they were worse off after the end of the
Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip.