As US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was in the Middle East last week trying to restrain Israel in its war against the Iran-backed Hamas terrorist group and to “revamp” the Palestinian Authority (PA), a public opinion poll again illustrated how the Biden administration continues to intentionally ignore the reality of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The results of the poll also showed that, unlike the Biden administration, most Palestinians do not trust the PA and prefer Hamas’s terrorism to a peaceful settlement with Israel.
Sullivan was reportedly in the Middle East for two reasons: to pressure Israel to scale down its military operations against Hamas, and to discuss the possibility of having the Palestinian Authority govern the Gaza Strip the day after the current war ends.
Both of these completely unrealistic and harmful objectives are a sign of how the Biden administration’s policies are detached from reality, as well as promising the PA a reward for having the same endgame as Hamas – destroying Israel – but just differing about how to do it.
One can understand that the Biden Administration would like to tamp down hostilities before the US presidential election in November, but it needs be understood that this is at the expense of more Israeli soldiers losing their lives and more Palestinians potentially being made to suffer under a Palestinian Authority leadership they say they hate. Close to 90% said they wanted PA President Mahmoud Abbas to resign. The US instead should offer the Palestinian people the opportunity for a better life with greater freedom and opportunities for economic growth.
The demand that Israel switch to low-intensity fighting against Hamas means a lifeline for the terrorist group. Hamas is already under immense pressure as a result of the massive Israeli military operation inside the Gaza Strip. Sullivan’s demand comes at a time when hundreds of thousands of Israeli soldiers are risking their lives. More than 425 have been killed on or since October 7, and 1,595 wounded, 255 seriously, in the fight against Iran’s Palestinian proxy in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas has lost many of its terrorists, bases, and tunnels since the beginning of the war. Its top commanders remain in hiding and a growing number of Palestinians are beginning to publicly voice discontent with Hamas, holding it responsible for the destruction of the Gaza Strip and the displacement of tens of thousands of families.
Forcing Israel to reduce its anti-terror military activities is exactly what Hamas wants. Hamas would be delighted to see fewer Israeli soldiers and armored vehicles in the Gaza Strip. It would also be happy to see fewer Israeli airstrikes on Hamas installations there.
Easing the pressure on Hamas will unfortunately just prolong the war: Israel will need more time to crush the terrorist group.
Moving from high-intensity to low-intensity fighting will allow Hamas terrorists to regroup and rearm in a more comfortable manner as they know there are fewer Israeli soldiers around.
Hamas leaders are now calling for a ceasefire or a temporary pause in the fighting in the hope that this will help them restore their military capabilities and improve their fighting tactics against the Israeli army.
The Hamas leaders are still counting on international pressure on Israel to stop the fighting and save the terrorist group from being removed from power. They are currently in talks with the Qataris to rejoin the Palestinian Authority. As Hamas doubtless sees events, the Biden administration is coming to the rescue.
If the PA has not changed over the past three decades since its establishment, there is no reason to believe it will embark on any drastic changes to placate the Biden administration. The PA might say that it is ready to change, but this will be in order to deceive the Biden administration and the rest of the international community into continuing to pour billions of dollars on Abbas and his cohorts in the deranged hope that they will combat terrorism in the Gaza Strip.
The Biden administration’s starry-eyed effort to “revitalize” or “revamp” the Palestinian Authority in the hope it will be able to rule the Gaza Strip once Hamas is removed from power, or in a coalition with the leaders of Hamas, is simply not realistic. Being a peaceful neighbor to Israel is, bluntly, not on the table. Despite whatever commitments might be signed in blood, in the eyes of Palestinian leaders, they are just Western fantasies. After the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 and 1995 , then PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat assured his people — in Arabic — that Oslo was no more binding than the Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyya, when the Islamic prophet Mohammad agreed not to attack for ten years, then, with his opponents safely neutralized, he assembled an army and attacked after two years.
As far as most Palestinians are concerned, the talk about “revamping” the Palestinian Authority is just another bad joke, written by infidel Westerners under infidel international laws that do not apply to them. In Islamic law, to deceive an enemy, taqiyya, dissimulation, is not only permitted but advised:
Famous Sunni scholar, ‘Allamah Wahidu ‘z-zaman Khan of Hyderabad (India) says: “Taqiyyah is proved from the Qur’an, “except when you have to guard against them“; and ignorant people think that taqiyyah is something peculiar to the Shi’as, while it is allowed in the Sunni faith also at times.”
As Sullivan was meeting with 88-year-old Abbas to discuss the possibility of handing the Gaza Strip over to the Palestinian Authority, a public opinion poll published by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) showed that a vast majority the Palestinians support Hamas and have no confidence in their president and his leadership. How ironic that the PA and its leaders appear to be more popular among White House officials than their own people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The findings of the poll reveal that support for Hamas has more than tripled in the West Bank compared to three months ago. In the Gaza Strip, support for Hamas increased, but not significantly.
Meanwhile, support for Abbas and his ruling Fatah faction has dropped significantly. The same is true for trust in the Palestinian Authority as a whole, as demand for its dissolution has risen to nearly 60%, the highest percentage ever recorded in PSR polls. Demand for Abbas’s resignation has increased to around 90%.
According to the results of the poll, Palestinian support for “armed struggle” (terrorism) against Israel has increased by 10% compared to three months ago: a majority of 63% are now in favor of “armed struggle”.
Another inconvenient truth for the Biden administration: According to the poll, most Palestinians justify Hamas’s October 7 massacre, including murder, decapitation, rape and burning people alive. These are the same people that the Biden administration wants to give a state next to Israel. Judging from the results of the poll, the future Palestinian state will be controlled by Iran-backed Islamists who will be dancing in the streets each time a Jew is murdered in a terrorist attack.
Asked about Hamas’s reasons for invading Israel and commuting the atrocities, the overwhelming majority said it was a “response to settler attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque and on Palestinian citizens and for the release of prisoners from Israeli prisons,” while only 14% thought it was an Iranian plot. Needless to say, there were no “settler attacks” on the mosque. This is another bogus accusation made by Abbas and other Palestinians in response to Jews peacefully visiting the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, by agreement with the Palestinian Authority.
Note that it is Abbas who has been describing these visits as violent incursions into the mosque while accusing Jews of “defiling with their filthy feet” the holy sites in Jerusalem. This is the same Abbas that the Biden administration wants to bring back to the Gaza Strip.
Asked what they thought of Hamas’s decision to launch the attack on Israel, given its outcome so far, 72% of the Palestinians said it was a “correct” move as opposed to 22% who thought it was incorrect.
Here is another inconvenient truth that the Biden administration may be unhappy to hear: almost two-thirds (64%) of the Palestinians are opposed to the participation of the Palestinian Authority in meetings with the US to discuss the future of the Gaza Strip after the war stops. Only 33% support PA participation in such meetings.
When asked about their own preferences for the party that should be in control in the Gaza Strip after the war, 60% selected Hamas; 16% selected a national unity government without Abbas, and only 7% selected the PA with Abbas.
If new presidential elections were held today with only two candidates, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would receive 78% of the vote as opposed to 16% for Abbas.
When asked which political party or political trend they support, the largest percentage selected Hamas (43%), followed by Fatah (17%), while 12% selected other or third-party groups, and 28% said none of them or did not know. Three months ago, support for Hamas stood at 22% and Fatah at 26%.
The poll also showed that 54% of Palestinians think that Hamas is the most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people today, while 13% think that Fatah under the leadership of Abbas is more deserving; 26% think that both are unworthy of representation and leadership. Three months ago, 27% said Hamas is the most deserving, 24% said Fatah led by Abbas is the most deserving, and 44% said both are unworthy of representation and leadership.
Incredibly, the Biden administration refuses to see what most Palestinians have made irrefutably clear what they want: the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews.
It is enough for Biden administration officials to look at the results of the PSR poll and talk to ordinary Palestinians to understand that the White House’s policies, such as promoting the creation of an Iran-sponsored Palestinian terror state, are not wanted by anyone but Iran and them.
Bassam Tawil is a Muslim Arab based the Middle East.
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