Fatah outpolling Hamas in West Bank, Gaza


WASHINGTON (JTA) — A poll of Palestinians shows Fatah outpolling Hamas in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Fatah, the party of Mahmoud Abbas, the relatively moderate Palestinian Authority president, would garner 42 percent of the vote in legislative elections throughout the Palestinian areas, according to the poll published Thursday by the Palestinian Center for Policy and survey research, while Hamas, the terrorist group controlling the Gaza Strip, would receive 28 percent.

The gap breaks down along similar lines in each area: In the West Bank, where Palestinian affairs are controlled by Fatah, the split is 39- 25 in Fatah’s favor; in Gaza, it’s 46-32 in Fatah’s favor.

Gaps are narrower when it comes to pitting Abbas against Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ Gaza leader, in direct presidential elections: Overall, its 48 percent to 38 in Abbas’ favor; in the West Bank, that split is 48-36 for Abbas, while in Gaza it narrows to 46-42.

Abbas’ term ends in January, and he favors elections soon after, although he has also said he is able to extend his term for another year – a move that two thirds of respondents say they would oppose.

The poll has a margin of error of three percentage points.

Abbas wants to press forward with peace talks with Israel aimed at outlining a two-state solution.

Hamas won legislative elections in January 2006 and ousted forces loyal to Abbas in bloody clashes six months later. Reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah have all but collapsed.

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