POLL: 80% of Palestinians prefer Abu Mazen's resignation
The death of activist Nizar Banat, as well as the 11-day war in Gaza last May, have diminished public support. The support for Hamas is growing: 45% of citizens believe the Islamic movement represents them, compared to only 19% who believe Fatah does. It's the "worst poll" Khalil Shikaki has taken since he took power.
A majority of Palestinians call for President Mahmoud Abbas to step down amid growing discontent with the PA's leadership following the death of an activist in security forces custody and the violent repression of popular protest.
Eight months after the 11-day war in Gaza last May, research by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research shows that support for Hamas' opponents is still high. The general consensus is that the Islamic movement's war against Israel was a "victory," and Abbas played only a minor role in it.
According to the Palestinian Research Center's most recent poll, 45% of Palestinians want Hamas to lead and represent them; secular Fatah, led by Abu Mazen, has the support of 19% of the population, a slight improvement over the previous months' decline. Pointing out that this is the "worst poll" for PA President.
Although Abbas's popularity has dwindled and he has refused to hold elections, the international community still views the 85-year-old as the Palestinian leader and a key partner in the long-stalled peace process with Israel. During the height of the peace process in the 1990s, the Palestinian Authority (PA) signed interim agreements with Israel and administers parts of the West Bank. Following its victory in the Gaza parliamentary elections in 2007, Hamas drove Abbas's forces out of the Strip.
After the first vote in 15 years was canceled due to Hamas rivals' fears of a landslide victory, Abbas' already waning popularity took a further hit in April. The Islamic movement isn't going away anytime soon.
Death of Associated Press reporter Nizar Banat, who died after being beaten by Palestinian security forces while being detained, sparked protest throughout Palestinian territory with calls for Abbas to step down. Local authorities responded by launching a violent crackdown that resulted in the arrest of numerous protesters. Only 19% believe Abu Mazen should remain in office, according to the poll's findings. Only 22% of Palestinians believe the ruling leadership's version of events, while 63% believe Banat was killed on the orders of the Ap leadership.
According to 69% of those polled, the government's response to the scandal, which included a promise to bring 14 officials to justice for the activist's detention, was "insufficient." More than two thirds of the 1,270 people surveyed in the West Bank and Gaza say they support the protests that followed Banat's death, while 74% say the arrest of protesters violates their civil liberties and rights.