After Hamas’ devastating October 7 massacre in which some 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals were murdered, the globe was divided into people able to condemn the attack and people perceiving the terrorists as “freedom fighters.”
Palestinian society seems much less divided on the issue compared to the rest of the world, according to a November 14 poll by the Arab World for Research and Development. When asked the leading question “How much do you support the military operation carried out by the Palestinian resistance led by Hamas on October 7?” Palestinian responses showed support for the attack.
Palestinians living in the West Bank overwhelmingly answered that they supported the attack to either an extreme or “somewhat” extent (83.1%.) Only 6.9% answered that they were “extremely” or “somewhat” against the attack, and 8.4% expressed that they had no opinion either way.
Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip show a little less consensus but the overall majority supported the attack. A mass of 63.6% said that they supported the attack “extremely” or to a “somewhat” extent. A further 14.4% answered that they did not oppose or support the attack. Showing a greater rift than that of the West Bank, 20.9% of Palestinians living in Gaza opposed the attack to some degree.
A total of 75% of respondents agreed with the October 7 attack to any extent.
Do Palestinian men and Palestinian women feel differently about the attack?
Very few differences were found in the beliefs between Palestinian women and Palestinian men when it came to supporting the October 7 attack. Men supported the attack to some degree (75.2%) only slightly more than women (74.9%.)
‘In your opinion, what was the main reason for the operation launched by the Palestinian resistance on 7th October?’
When asked the above question, 31.7% of West Bank-based respondents and 24.9% of Gaza-based respondents claimed the reason for the attack was to “free Palestine.” A further 23.3% of West Bank-based respondents and 17.7% of Gaza-based respondents claimed that the reason for the attack was “breaking the siege on the Gaza Strip.”
An additional 35% of total respondents claimed that the attack was to “stop the violations of Aqsa”, assumed to refer to the Al-Aqsa mosque where only Muslims are permitted to pray at the site, despite its religious significance for all Abrahamic faiths.
Only 0.9% of total respondents believed that Hamas’ motive behind the attack was to “stop the peace process.” A further 0.7% said that they believed the motivation was to “stop the settlement.”
A total of 5.1% of respondents believed that the attack was carried out to “serve Iran’s benefits.”
Support for a two-state solution
When asked “Do you support the solution of establishing one state or two states?” the majority (74.7%) of respondents answered that they support a single Palestinian state “from the river to the sea.”
The support for a single Palestinian state was more commonly held by Palestinians living in the West Bank (77.7%) than Palestinians living in Gaza (70.4%.)
A total of 17.2% of respondents said they supported a two-state solution, with Palestinians in Gaza (22.7%) supporting this solution to a greater extent than Palestinians living in the West Bank (13.3%.)
Only 5.4% of respondents said they would support a “one-state for two peoples” solution.
Who is the fight between?
While the war is said to be between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization, only 18.6% of respondents have agreed that is the case. The majority (63.6%) feel this is a war between “Israel and Palestinians in general” with a further 9.4% stating that they saw this as a war between “the Western world and the Arab world.”