Near East Consulting just came out with a poll of Palestinian Arabs. The results have not yet been published on their website and I only found them reported in Arabic, but they show that the trend of Palestinian Arabs away from supporting Hamas and towards Fatah are continuing.
As reported in Palestine Press, 37% supported Mahmoud Abbas versus only 12% for Ismail Haniyeh (51% had no confidence in either.) 46% saw the Fayyad government as being more legitimate vs. 20% for Hamas.
90% would like to hold new elections. If elections were held now, 46% would vote for Fatah and only 11% for Hamas.
If they were voting for president today, 34% would vote for Abbas, 24% for Marwan Barghouti and only 12% forHaniyeh and 2% for Khaled Meshaal.
70% wanted to take weapons away from the "factions," all non-governmental groups like Islamic Jihad.
70% are happy with the security measures done by the PA in the West bank and only 45% with those done by Hamas in Gaza.
Assuming that Gazans were included in this poll, these are stunning numbers away from Hamas. It means that the Israeli and Western policy of isolating Hamas has been a success, and that Operation Cast Lead has caused Hamas to lose popularity - as opposed to conventional wisdom that such actions only strengthen terrorists.
It means that Israeli policy of loosening up restrictions in the West Bank - in reaction to relative quiet there - is paying off in turning Palestinian Arabs against Hamas.
Meanwhile, Hamas may be fragmenting. The person whose body was found this morning in a Rafah smuggling tunnel was actually a Hamas leader who had actually been on the Hamas list during the last elections. There were signs of torture on his body. It seems unlikely that Fatah in Gaza has the resources to assassinate someone and transport them to the other end of the Strip to dump them in a tunnel that is probably controlled by Hamas anyway, so it looks far more likely that this was the result of Hamas infighting.
Israel's policy of isolating Gaza is paying dividends, and those who are trying to get those restrictions lifted are materially helping terrorists.