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Survey analyzes impact of Hamas victory in Lebanon
Affiliations based on loyalty or background

According to a survey conducted by Abdo Saad, director of the Beirut Center for Research and Information, Hamas leads the Palestinian polls with 48 percent, followed by Fatah with 24 percent and the Popular Front ranking third with 12 percent. More than 83 percent of the Palestinians support Hamas' stance of not recognizing Israel, and about 86 percent support maintaining martyrdom operations within 1948 lines.

The Palestinian arena witnessed a major and unexpected breakthrough represented by the victory of the Hamas movement in the legislative elections and the formation of a Palestinian government by Hamas alone. For this purpose, the Beirut Center for Research and Information conducted a survey to analyze the impact of this victory on Palestinian refugees in Lebanese camps and to examine their interaction with the latest developments in the Palestinian territories and their opinions about the problems they are facing in Lebanon.
This survey was conducted between March 20 and 24, and included a random sample of 500 Palestinian subjects, . The sample was taken from Palestinian camps in Beirut and the North and South of Lebanon. Gender distribution and age were taken into consideration upon choosing the subjects.

Analyzing the results:
Convergence of opinion inside and outside Palestine
A survey conducted by the Beirut Research Center on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, considered the first of its kind, confirmed that the general political leanings of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is almost identical to that of their counterparts inside the Occupied Palestinian Territories. These political affiliations are mainly based on party loyalty or background, and are not affected by locality.
However, what is important is the new reality on the ground in the Occupied Territories following the recent legislative elections, which saw a surprising rise in the popularity of Hamas at the expense of Fatah, the national liberation movement suffering from a longstanding decrease in its popularity.
The poll also showed that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine managed to secure third place, after Hamas and Fatah, as was also the case in the Occupied Territories.
Also clearly shown by the survey is the clear convergence of opinions and political positions between Hamas partisans and those of the PFLP.
However, the real surprise was in the distribution of those opinions among the refugee camps in North and South Lebanon, as well as Beirut.
Hamas prevailed in the South with 57.5 percent, against 20.42 percent for Fatah and 7.33 percent for the PFLP. In Beirut, Hamas received 47.24 percent, against 28.14 percent for Fatah and 9.05 percent for the PFLP.
It was noticeable that the support for Hamas increased the further South one went in Lebanon, likely corresponding to the presence of more organizational and political groups in the large refugee camps in the South.
On the contrary, the PFLP's popularity is concentrated in the North, with 23.6 percent of respondents expressing support for the faction, against 21.50 percent for Fatah. That said, Hamas received 34 percent of support in the North, reflecting the fact of its predominance throughout the country.
Fatah's popularity is concentrated in Beirut. It received 28.14 percent in Beirut, but only 20.42 percent in the South.
Fatah's political and organizational activity was resumed five years ago in Beirut after it having been halted for 15 years previously. The capital is therefore witnessing progressive improvement contrary to the South, despite the presence of the movement's leaderships in the latter.
In a bid to visualize the full political picture inside and outside of the Occupied Territories, it is important to recall the results of the legislative elections held in January in which Hamas' Reform and Change List won 44.4 percent of the polls, Fatah won 41.4 percent and the PFLP 4.3 percent.
However, surveys conducted after the elections were convened showed a continuing increase in Hamas' popularity, and a corresponding decrease in that of Fatah.
A survey conducted by Najah University in March, for example, showed that Hamas enjoyed the support of 34 percent of Palestinians, whereas Fatah received 28 percent and the PFLP 3.5 percent. A survey conducted by the Quds Center for Information and Communication, under the supervision of former Minister Ghassan Khatib, showed that 38.7 percent of Palestinians trusted Hamas, compared against only 18.5 percent mere months before in December 2005. The Quds survey also showed 30.6 percent of Palestinians trusted Fatah, compared with 38.9 percent in December 2005.
Asked who they would vote for if elections were held again, 41.4 percent of respondents said they would cast their ballot for Hamas, whereas 31 percent chose Fatah.
Another survey, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Political and Survey Research run by Khalil al-Shaqaqi, showed that if the legislative elections were held over again, 47 percent of Palestinians asked would vote for Hamas, whereas 39 percent would opt for Fatah.
In the Gaza Strip in particular, Hamas would receive 51 percent of the ballots, whereas Fatah would receive 37 percent, a result that is almost similar to those in the survey conducted in Lebanon.
According to the same research center, 46 percent of Palestinians polled said they had voted for Fatah, despite the fact that the official results of the January 25 election show 44.4 percent of all ballots cast for Hamas and 41 percent for Fatah.
The survey conducted by the Beirut Research Center showed a remarkable convergence between the overwhelming majority of Hamas and PFLP supporters on the one hand, and the overwhelming majority of Fatah supporters on the other, on national issues such as the recognition of Israel, continuing to carry out suicide bombings and the broader resistance, and the Palestinian right of return.
It is noticeable that a minority of Fatah supporters, between 20-30 percent, expressed objection to these issues, with 31.4 percent of Fatah supporters saying they backed a Hamas recognition of Israel, 25.5 percent objecting to suicide bombings, and 26.3 percent no longer believing in the right of return.
These divisions along party lines also emerged concerning specific issues concerning Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, with 45.3 percent of respondents saying the living conditions of the refugees in Lebanon would improve with the Hamas' victory, whereas 54.7 percent said they believed nothing will change.
Here too we find a clear convergence among Hamas and PFLP supporters, in addition to 17.8 percent of Fatah voters. When compared against the results of the first four questions, we notice that these results are completely the opposite.

The daily star
04/04/2006

 

 

 

Average

Hamas supporters

Fatah supporters

PFLP supporters

Other

Those who don't support any group

Question 1

Do you support Hamas' refusal to recognize Israels right to exist?

yes

83.5 %

90 %

68.6 %

87.7 %

84 %

82.5 %

no

16.5 %

10 %

31.4 %

12.3 %

16 %

17.5 %

Question 2

Do you support continuation of resistance operations in territories occupied in 1948 as a response to continued Israeli assassinations and killing?

yes

85.7 %

94.2 %

74.6 %

87.7 %

64 %

80.7 %

no

14.3 %

5.8 %

25.4 %

12.3 %

36 %

19.3 %

Question 3

Do you believe the Palestinian resistance in the occupied territories will continue or stop after the results of the Palestinian elections?

Continue

86.7 %

95 %

79.7 %

80.7 %

84 %

73.7 %

Stop

13.3 %

5 %

20.3 %

19.3 %

16 %

26.3 %

Question 4

Do you still believe in the right of return after passing of almost 59 years since the Nakba?

yes

84.7 %

92 %

73.7 %

93 %

76 %

72 %

no

15.3 %

8 %

26.3 %

7 %

24 %

28 %

Question 5

D you think the Palestinian refugees situation in Lebanon will improve with the victory of Hamas?

yes

45.3 %

67.9 %

17.8 %

64.9 %

28 %

24.6 %

no

54.7 %

32.1 %

82.2 %

35.1 %

72 %

75.4 %

Question 6

Do you think improving  the situation of Palestinians in Lebanon will threaten the right of return or boost support it?

Boost

63.6 %

64.6 %

58.5 %

59.7 %

80 %

66.7 %

Threaten

36.4 %

35.4 %

41.5 %

40.3 %

20 %

33.3 %

Question 7

What do you believe Hamas' priorities should be?

Reform and fighting corruption inside Lebanon

46.9 %

55 %

33.1 %

54.4 %

32 %

40.4 %

improving the situation of refugees

23.9 %

17.9 %

37.3 %

12.3 %

20 %

35.1 %

rebuilding the Palestine Liberation Organization

17.5 %

16.3 %

22 %

22.8 %

16 %

8.8 %

all the above

11.7 %

10.8 %

7.6 %

10.5 %

32 %

15.8 %

Question 8

Had you been given the right to vote, who should you have voted for?

Average

Hamas supporters

Fatah supporters

PFLP supporters

Other

Those who don't support any group

100 %

48.3 %

23.7 %

11.5 %

5 %

11.5 %

 

 

Beirut Center for Research and Information

The Daily Star in 04/04/2006

 



 


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