A recent survey conducted in Gaza and the West Bank demonstrated that a slim majority supports direct talks with Israel and that most Palestinians want Marwan Barghouti to succeed current president Mahmoud Abbas. According to a recent article from Israeli news source Ynet, the Arab World for Research & Development organization conducted a survey which found that 68% of the 1,200 Palestinians interviewed do not want Hamas to continue rocket attacks against Israel while 25.5% are in favor of the continuation of attacks on targets in Israel.

There was a disparity between the opinions of the Palestinian residents of Gaza, where 35.4% of Gazans support Hamas resuming the attacks, while 19.5% of the Palestinian residents of the West Bank.

Nearly two thirds of all Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are in favor of Hamas maintaining a commitment to the unofficial ceasefire issued after Israel’s most recent major attack on Gaza, but some 25.7% are hopeful the Islamic Resistance Movement will ignore the ceasefire and recommence attacks on Israel.

Additionally, the survey revealed that if presidential elections for the Palestinian Authority were held today, current president Mahmoud Abbas would be re-elected with 30.9% of the votes, Marwan Barghouti (currently serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison) would receive 14.3% of the votes, 10.4% of Palestinians would vote for Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, and current Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad would collect just 8.4% of the votes.

While it would seem of little importance that Barghouti has so much support even though he is currently in prison, Abbas has made it clear that he plans to retire, and Barghouti’s name has surfaced several times as one of the prisoners Hamas wants freed in exchange for Gilad Shalit, who was captured by Hamas in 2006.

In the event that Abbas retires, 26.5% of those surveyed said Barghouti, 20.6% stated they would support Fayyad, and 12% claimed they would vote for Haniyeh.

The peace process approach still remained a divisive issue with the sample, as 47.6% back direct negotiations with Israel, while 46.6% do not support direct talks.

As for the peace process, the poll showed that 47.6% of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are in favor of direct negotiations with Israel, while 46.6% are against direct talks.

The poll showed that some 41% of Palestinians in Gaza support direct talks while 51% of people residing in the West Bank favor direct negotiations.

Only 26.6% of Palestinians are of the opinion that Palestinian society is heading in the right direction and 67.2% believe the opposite.

According to the survey, Palestinians in Gaza hold a more pessimistic view than the Palestinian residents of the West Bank. In the West Bank, 59.7% of Palestinians believe that Palestinian society is declining whereas 79.8% of Gazans feel their situation is deteriorating.