July 16, 2007

Polling Gaza

By Noah Pollak

If the results of the latest poll by Near East Consulting are accurate, it is fair to say that Hamas is turning into its own worst enemy. Many observers, myself included, have maintained that the most productive policy toward Hamas in Gaza should be one of benign neglect, of allowing Hamas to misrule and abuse the territory so that its subjects would come to understand the perils of electing Islamists to power. Even given the attempts of many interlocutors to rescue the Gaza electorate from the consequences of its own choices, this is exactly what appears to be happening now.

Hamas got only 23 percent support, down from 29 percent in the previous survey last month, while Fatah climbed from 31 percent to 43 percent.
The poll, the first major survey since the Hamas takeover, also showed that 66 percent of Hamas supporters said they would vote Fatah if it undertook reforms. ...
Trust in the Gaza-based deposed Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas stood at 37 percent, compared to 63 percent for Abbas. [Fatah] Prime Minister Sallam Fayad got higher trust marks than Haniyeh, 62-38 percent.
"A lot of people answering this question said we like Haniyeh more, but we want people who can really deliver," [Jamil] Rabah [head of Near East Consulting] said. "People are becoming more realistic."
Posted by Noah Pollak at July 16, 2007 09:50 AM


Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas; be careful what you wish for, you just might get it; sow the wind, reap the whirlwind; etc., etc.

Just what I needed on a Monday to make the day bearable.

Posted by: Ephraim at July 16, 2007 10:46 AM

Hamas got only 23 percent support, down from 29 percent in the previous survey last month

While support for Hamas among the Western left continues to skyrocket! LOL. No big surprise there.

Posted by: Carlos at July 16, 2007 11:07 AM

i wouldn't open the champagne yet.

1st, these polls are highly unreliable as the arabs are fickle and move with the wind.

2nd, i don't think hamas is much affected by polls and they know how to stifle negative public opinion.

3rd, no matter how much hamas fucks up, the west, iran and saudia will save their butt.

4th, once abbas takes full advantage of the west and the idiot olmert, he'll go back to unity with hamas.

just watch.

Posted by: fp at July 16, 2007 11:40 AM


Oh, for sure. But this kind of news always brightens my day, if only fleetingly. It's just good to see how the Pals manage to shit in their own nest every time they get the opportunity. That alone gives me hope for the future.

Now, if Israel would only get rid of Olmert and Peres, I would be much more confident. But even so, I think that the Pals will inevitably do something that will force Israel to save itself from the stupidity of its own government.

Posted by: Ephraim at July 16, 2007 12:12 PM

I disagree with you guys. I think a corner has been turned here. I just don't see Abbas going back into a unity government and playing stupid while Hamas launches rockets and suicide bombers. I don't know exactly what's going to happen, but it's not going to be that.

Posted by: MarkC at July 16, 2007 12:34 PM


i understand. but they have been doing that for decades and yet they got the west to buy into their propaganda lock stock and barrel.

who will replace the 2 idiots in israel? that's the problem. if there were any serious candidates olmert would have probably fallen already. he has not because there aren't better replacements.


i would like to hope you're right, but i'm afraid that based on ample experience, that's wishful thinking.

and while in the past abbas did his crap by himself, now the west and the saudis will force him to do it. i can even envision a day when the west will condition its jizya on reconciliation with hamas. there's no stupidity and judeophilia that the west won't demonstrate these days.

Posted by: fp at July 16, 2007 12:44 PM

oops, i meant judeophobia.

Posted by: fp at July 16, 2007 12:46 PM

"1st, these polls are highly unreliable as the arabs are fickle and move with the wind."

Yes, but I do think the basic claim there was true. Hamas seem to be a lot more popular among the western left than among the Arabs.

Many Arabs seem to realise that apart from murdering Jews, Hamas are also becoming agents for Iran.

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at July 16, 2007 01:17 PM

perhaps, but the objective of eliminating israel does not go away, now that everybody but the kitchen sink has bought it.

Posted by: fp at July 16, 2007 01:42 PM

I agree with fp, especially his point # 3. Condi called Hamas a "resistance movement" a few weeks ago. Just like St-Exupery or those heroes who were tortured to death by the Gestapo because they wouldn't talk. It seems that Condi is falling into the pattern of the Western "Left" that Carlos sees. But then she represents George II. Does that mean that George II is a ....ist too??

On the other hand, while I share Ephraim's hopes, I can't agree with him or fp that olmert and peres are exactly stupid. They are both clever in a superficial childish kind of way, in my view. They both know how to get power in the state and manipulate the media and twist the parliament, the Knesset in this case. But they don't know how to deal with Israel's predicament. Olmert is clever like the crooked lawyer that he is. But he has risen above his level of incompetence. By the way, Attorney General Mazuz, as you may know, has been protecting olmert from investigation, let alone indictment, on several criminal offenses based on info dug up by the State Controller and others. George II and Condi [Riso Amaro] like it that way. I think that they genuinely and sincerely like olmert. After all, olmert fits the Hebrew expression: Hazaq `al haHalashim. He is strong against the weak, while he fawns over the powerful and grovels before them. Is this somebody that any decent folk can respect? By the way, Shimmy, our new prez, is showing signs of mental deterioration. I don't think that he's up to all the evil things that he would like to do. Look closely at Shimmy, Ephraim, and maybe draw more hope from his evident, if gradual, decline.

Some naughty folks think that Mazuz is protecting olmert because that's what shimmy wants. I have no firm opinion on the matter.

Posted by: Eliyahu at July 16, 2007 03:00 PM

Well, maybe the fact that he's going senile would explain why Peres isn't too ashamed to show his face in public. I can't understand how the man can live with himslef, after all he has done.

Posted by: Ephraim at July 16, 2007 04:00 PM

Nobody in Israel can solve Israel's problems -- because the Islamofascist problem creators are NOT in Israel, and are NOT under the influence of Israeli voters. (Unlike most US problems, although similar to the Iraq Islamofascist problem.)

Either Israel is willing (allowed by the US?) to fight until an Unconditional Surrender, followed by a real peace, or else peace depends on the Islamists.

I fully agree that neglect and mostly ignoring Hamas, but NOT supporting them, is the best of the many bad choices. Food and medicine should NOT be distributed by Hamas, but by private Palestinian business folk. In fact, it might be good to pay 200% - 500% for any and all Palestinian exports, so that those who do produce and sell, get much higher profits. With food aid as well as cash for buying the exported products.

Why isn't the Palestinian economy being covered in the media? and the producers supported? Why aren't there any Palestinian businessmen in the news?

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at July 16, 2007 04:11 PM
Many observers, myself included, have maintained that the most productive policy toward Hamas in Gaza should be one of benign neglect, of allowing Hamas to misrule and abuse the territory so that its subjects would come to understand the perils of electing Islamists to power.

Hmm. Hamas, Hezbollah and associated groups are turning Gaza in to another south Lebanon. It seems odd to let them do it so the Arabs will (maybe) learn from their mistakes.

Posted by: MattW at July 16, 2007 04:29 PM

"Many observers, myself included, have maintained that the most productive policy toward Hamas in Gaza should be one of benign neglect, of allowing Hamas to misrule and abuse the territory so that its subjects would come to understand the perils of electing Islamists to power."

I actually think this is the best way, as long as they agree to allow elections and give up power if they lose, but that is the rub.

Posted by: Keith at July 16, 2007 05:17 PM

Dreams, all dreams.

Hamas will be helped, not allowed to fail. olmert and barak are desperate to get out of the west bank.

the arafat/abbas step-by-step scheme is progressing as planned, now helped by the west and the us and by hamas playing the bad terrorist to abbas' good terrorist.

rice wants olmert in power so that pressure can be applied for concessions to a weak PM.

anybody who does not see where this is going is in denial.

Posted by: fp at July 16, 2007 05:39 PM

Nothing here. Bush expresses the idea that the Palestinians have to make a choice, and the same day a survey reports that they're doing so. Couldn't be more staged.

As I've pointed out before, the setup is to cut the deal that Clinton failed to get.

So this is happening. The only analysis that matters any more is about what happens afterwards.

Posted by: ad at July 16, 2007 05:54 PM

who pays anymore attention to what bush says? what counts is what the us is doing. and from what it's doing it's clear what will happen afterwards.

Posted by: fp at July 16, 2007 06:01 PM

no, I mean after the deal is signed. then it's a free for all. very hard to anticipate.

Posted by: ad at July 16, 2007 06:07 PM

perhaps individual events, but the general direction is not hard to predict at all.

Posted by: fp at July 16, 2007 06:25 PM

and ..

Posted by: ad at July 16, 2007 06:43 PM

the first step by a desperate and capitulating us president in putting pressure on a weak israeli govt to make suicidal concessions is to call an international conference where every body will gang up on israel. that's why israel was always against it, but my guess is appeasing asshole olmert will accept.


Posted by: fp at July 16, 2007 11:29 PM

debka should always be read with a large grain of salt, but still...


Posted by: fp at July 16, 2007 11:45 PM

so it's not just me:


Posted by: fp at July 16, 2007 11:47 PM

It'hard to believe, they're all dreams

Posted by: pickup at July 17, 2007 08:57 AM

In veiw of the said poll, just notice the willingness and the eagerness by which the "resistance" in Samaria and Judea are giving their weapons and signing all kind a good behaviour papers. These are not rigged statisics. Obviously the IDF have suceeded in making their life practically unbearable. I think that the Pal. in Judea and Sameria are simply sick and tiered of it all. It also tell about the myth of undefeatable popular resistence. If Israel could offer 10.000 jobs to these people, Tom Grey are you there, and make life noticebly better there while making some what hell like in Gaza, some thing good may come out of it.

Posted by: Hazbani at July 17, 2007 10:17 AM

well, they're dreams because they have been proven dreams over and over again and it was precisely the dreaming that facilitated and encouraged the pal behaviors that go against such dreams.

have you read some reports on those "disarming"? Anybody who takes it seriously is more than a dreamer, but a wishful thinker. These individuals have experienced too much for them to give up now, when the whole world has come to the conclusion that israel was a mistake.

the ONLY time when one can believe some change is occurring is when the pal media and education systems are overhauled away from jew demonization and jihad. as long as that does not happen the world is fooling itself again.

Posted by: fp at July 17, 2007 11:56 AM

Who said events are hard to predict. Hamas down?
Here's EU saving their butt:


Posted by: fp at July 17, 2007 12:08 PM

is this the time for fatah terrorists in the west bank to give up, when israel throws away their only effective anti-terror policy?


Posted by: fp at July 17, 2007 05:15 PM

If there's a willingness to throw a state at the palestinians and run like hell, it can only be happening as a strategically appropriate preparation for whatever is coming next. Your mostly reactionary sentiments are indeed easy, but they don't shed much light on why Israel is making these choices.

Posted by: ad at July 17, 2007 10:05 PM

you gotta be kidding.

did the lebanon war suggest in any way that israel PLANNED anything? that they had a strategy? that they planned anything? that they knew what they were doing?

israel has an acute leadership crisis. so deep, that it goes all the way thru to the army. all three contenders for PM are previous utter failures and responsible for the current state in which israel finds itself.

all you hear from israel these days is begging the arabs for peace. they are doing everything backwards and they seem to have learned nothing from history or experience. and they are doing it in circumstances in which the world and now the us too is increasingly anti-zionist, anti-semitic and pro-plaestinian.

so what light you need other than gambling the state away out of wishful thinking, incompetence and cowardice?

Posted by: fp at July 17, 2007 10:19 PM

...and Javier Solana declares his love for "Palestinian people" and tells us his unprecedented wisdom, that our Palestinian friends will calm down as soon as they get their state...

Posted by: Czechmade at July 18, 2007 04:38 AM


this is useful. it shows how fatah plans to stitch the territories back together.

fp you don't seem to get it. you're still railing against the possibility of something that's a done deal. you're 'predicting' things that no longer need to be predicted. there's really no value in pointing out again and again how craven, cowardly and in some cases evil all the various parties are. we know, we know, we know.

still looking for USEFUL day after commentary.

Posted by: ad at July 18, 2007 09:17 AM

we? who is we? i see here plenty of the faith-based approach as distinct of the reality-based approach. or haven't you noticed that my comments are in response to the former?

methinks it's you who don't get it.

Posted by: fp at July 18, 2007 09:36 AM

'we' is anybody who has read more than two comments from you. the point is always the same - 'the craven two faced so-and-so's are at it again', etc.

so. ok. it's a given. the pals will get a state under the worst possible circumstances. israel will be defeated by its closest ally and by its own prime minister. all given.

then what? still waiting.

Posted by: ad at July 18, 2007 10:34 AM


why do some people delude themselves that what they think is what everybody thinks, and blind themselves to evidence to the contrary?

i reiterate: my comments are in response to those who OBVIOUSLY don't know what you and your "group" claim you know.

so why do you think that just because you get certain things i should not inconvenience you by repeating something that is the core of the matter which others seem to ignore?

my suggestion is that you stop putting yourself at the center of these discussions to dictate what others should or should not say?

Posted by: fp at July 18, 2007 11:04 AM

hey, ad,

regarding your 'israel making these choices", here's israel's controller:


so who gets it and who does not, again?

Posted by: fp at July 18, 2007 11:59 AM

When I imagine how the history of this period will be written in 20 years from now, I doubt the text will read that the Israeli gov't was peopled with a bunch of morally bankrupt half-wits who couldn't have bought popcorn for themselves in a theater much less saved the state from its enemies. But that's the story you're telling. It's the only story you're telling.

I agree that Bush is trying to force a deal on the heels of the gaza coup. I was the first person on this board to draw that conclusion. And I agree that Olmert is playing along, whether sincerely or not I don't know. But the broader context is certainly not that the leaders are just a bunch of self serving idiots.

Surely, Sharon understood the likely string of events that would follow the gaza pullout. These events can only have been anticipated. To think that the government of Israel is surprised by them is idiotic. The present state of affairs, then, must also have been anticipated.

You can certainly point to the errors of the war last summer to underline the failings of Olmert's leadership. That's fair. But doing so doesn't speak the issue I'm raising at all.

Posted by: ad at July 18, 2007 01:39 PM

why should i speak to the issue you raise, when there is ample empirical evidence that support my position, while there is none in support of yours.

i dk what sharon envisioned and neither do you. and waiting 20 years in the current circumstances is suicidal.

you simply cannot accept the reality and you're resorting to wishful thinking. that's why you try to marginalize those who prick your bubble. i understand that mental process. unfortunately, it's the one that brought us to the present situation, and apparently we still have not learned anything.

Posted by: fp at July 18, 2007 02:31 PM

it's not wishful thinking to suppose that there's some intelligence after all in the Israeli government, most likely a lot of it throughout the ranks. On the contrary, your view is adolescent, essentially the view of a teenager who has discovered that his parents aren't perfect but who hasn't yet learned to appreciate the qualities they do have.

History will likely condemn Olmert for much of what happened last summer, particularly for that last surge that cost so many lives without purpose, but it's also clear that a dumber, more impetuous man would have walked Israel into quite a number of huge disasters in the last year that Olmert has artfully avoided. I'm certain he will be credited for much as well as blamed for much.

To me his achievements are clear. He kept Israel out of Syria, when the temptation to go in was strong. He's been skillfully narrowing the space in which EU/Human Rights types have to operate and to criticize, while maintaining practical deterrence at a high level. That's a tough balancing act. Omert and Livni have been better at it than Sharon was.

Now Bush appears to be trying to exploit the Gaza situation to force Olmert into a corner. So we'll see how he handles it. You have a vested interest in a given outcome, that he's a craven coward and a fool, because if he's not that your world view collapses utterly. That puts you roughly in the same position as a moonbat with regard to Bush.

I don't like to be this harsh, but you're taking common sense and labeling it wishful thinking, and then accusing me of trying to marginalize you. That's an amusing bit of projection, but it also calls for a strong response.

Posted by: ad at July 19, 2007 09:43 PM

if i were you, i would not invoke infantility -- glass houses, you know. wanna try to compare ages, knowledge of the me -- both professional and personal-- and backgrounds? wanna bet that when i first knew about olmert you likely were not even born?

you don't even know what a vested interest is and you wanna analyze politics?

strong response? nah. here's a strong response: what an idiot.

Posted by: fp at July 19, 2007 09:59 PM


Posted by: fp at July 20, 2007 10:02 AM
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