re: #5 Obdicut
re: #6 CuriousLurker
re: #7 Charles Johnson
I state that many in the West delude themselves on this point, because they make the assertion without any real objective data, much less activity by those to whom they ascribe such a desire, to back it up. For the same reason it would be fair to accuse me of deluding myself if I stated that there is not a significant number of people in Gaza wishing to do so. I do not have the direct access to the people of Gaza and therefore cannot and do not make that assertion. To the contrary, there is no question that there are Fatah members/supporters and even those in Gaza who are willing to risk their lives to help the Israelis identify and eliminate Hamas militants.
That said, the fact remains that Hamas was voted into power by a significant number of Palestinians, and a substantial number of Palestinians continues to support Hamas’ views even if they do not count themselves as political supporters of the group. For example, see the information at the link below of a survey performed only a few months ago by the respective Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. While it shows that, politically, residents of Gaza are more likely today to vote for Fatah than for Hamas (although not necessarily for Salam Fayyad, who has almost no indigenous support) (see, e.g., responses to Question 20; note also the strong support for convicted terrorist Marwan Barghouti in a direct election against either or both of Abbas or Ismail Haniyeh), when asked about their views on specific issues such as support for an armed intifadeh (see, responses to Question 50-5) or for armed attacks against Israeli civilians (responses to Question 56), a strong majority of the Gaza Strip’s residents (52.9% and 65.8% ror respondends respectively) hold views that are supportive of Hamas’ approach .
A final note (then I have to get back to my day job) re: the Pew results showing lower support for Hamas around the Arab world. If recent elections in the newly democratized North African countries are an indicator, there is significant support for Salafi parties that are even more radical than Hamas. The so-called “Arab Spring” has also given new life to the centuries long battle between the Shi’a and Sunni branches of Islam for supremacy. Poll results that do no more than show the “favorable vs. unfavorable” view of Hamas in various places are of limited utility in elucidating matters unless they are viewed in the context of these other events that are shaking the Arab and Muslim world.