Most Arabs Want Hamas to Replace Arafat

Arab world: 73.72% want Hamas to replace Arafat (Jerusalem Post)

A survey of the Arab world organized by the Al-Arabia network website after the death of Yasser Arafat, showed 73.72% want a Hamas representative to replace Arafat, ITIM reported. In contrast only 0.7% expect that one of the PLO leaders will take over.

25.58% were in favor of an independent candidate. 113,107 participants from across the Arab world took part in the survey.

The organizers of the survey explained that the Hamas movement and the Islamic Jihad organization stand for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the land of historic Palestine, a concept that the PLO gave up on when the Oslo discussions began.

I’m a bit surprised by the magnitude of the results, although not by their direction. The notion, widespread in the West, that Middle East peace is simply a matter of the Israelis being a bit more reasonable, is not supported by the evidence. Rather obviously, the annihilation of Israel remains the goal of most in the Arab world.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, Terrorism, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jim Henley says:

    Simply doesn’t follow, JJ.

  2. J Thomas says:

    Wanting Hamas doesn’t mean they’re opposed to negotiation.

    Hamas has come closest to making a palestinian government. They have an actual organisation, they do things for the public good, they try to do educaction, etc.

    They aren’t just a bunch of corrupt hacks. Particularly since Hamas leaders who’re particularly effective at promoting education etc oiften get targetted by the israelis (who invariably claim they have links to the military wing) and killed. It isn’t a job for people who just wnat a safe way to make money.

    Since it’s the only effective organisation the palestinians have, of *course* it’s the favored one to be the official government.

    We won’t find out what kind of negotiating they’d do until they get the chance to negotiate. As long as the israelis just kill them, they have nothing to gain by talking concessions.

  3. Bithead says:

    Oh, yes it does.

    James I said in my own blog, after watching his burial:

    There is no better indicator of Yassir Arafat’s support for and involvement in terrorism, than the support being shown by terrorists for him today in Ramalah. There is no better indicator of there being no desire for peace within the so-called Palastinian people, then the overt display of terrorists today in Ramalah.How long is the western world going to be forced to try and make peace with these animals who quite clearly do not WANT it, but only want the destruction of the west?

  4. ken says:

    James your charactorization of the situation is wrong. The widespread notion in the west is that mideast peace is only possible if both sides are reasonable. Isreal has been just as unreasonable as the Palistinians have been. The only important question for us should be what is in the American interest. The answer to that is clear. Our interest is in a peaceful resolution which can only be obtained with our being an honest broker without playing favorites.

  5. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Those unreasonable Joooos, objecting to being blown up? Such cheek.

  6. b-psycho says:

    “Hamas has come closest to making a palestinian government. They have an actual organisation, they do things for the public good, they try to do educaction, etc. They aren’t just a bunch of corrupt hacks.”

    This couldn’t help but aid their popularity. I’ve heard from people on the palestinian side of the conflict relentless criticism of the PLO as corrupt & basically worthless, in response to my own criticism of Hamas still existing instead of being wiped out — preferably by the palestinians themselves.

    I’m inclined to believe that this was actually part of their propaganda strategy — provide what Arafat & co could not, & they open the door ever wider to their view being accepted. Not that they really needed much help in that regard, but eh…

    Ken: not to be snarky, but it’s always seemed to me like our interest would be better served by not being involved at all, since no matter what our role was one side would always call it favortism even if it weren’t. Being party to a stalemate that’s about to boil into mutual genocide isn’t my idea of useful.

  7. bryan says:

    The question I guess I have to ask is who gives a damn what the rest of the arab world wants? I thought this was between the palestinians and the israelis.

  8. John Thacker says:

    As long as Hamas just kills Israelis, the Israelis have nothing to gain by talking concessions.

    The Israelis have tried talking peace and offering concessions. Hamas never has, despite its apologists above.

  9. John Thacker says:

    Besides, the Israelis also do things like rescue Palestinian arms smugglers who are trying to bring in weapons to use against the Israelis. Yes, they promptly arrested them too, but that’s a lot more than just killing them.

    Note that the Palestinians called the Israelis for help. So the Palestinians at least are confident that the Israelis won’t just kill them.

  10. J Thomas says:

    John, Hamas has repeatedly offered cease-fires to israel which israel has broken. There hasn’t been a lot of negotiation from the israeli side. What concessions has israel offered Hamas?

  11. zz says:

    Hamas of course started the current multiyear stretch of violence and only offers ceasefires as a way of creating breathing room to regroup.

  12. J Thomas says:

    ZZ, arguments about “who started it” are completely useless except as propaganda to demonise the other side.

    The fact remains, Hamas has offered cease-fires and israel has rejected them in the most emphatic way by bombing suspected locations of Hamas leaders.

    You can argue that Likud is right to utterly refuse to have nonlethal dealings with Hamas because Hamas would only try to cheat them if they agreed to any deal. But in practice it’s still the Sharon regime that refuses all of Hamas’s advances and not the other way around.

  13. McGehee says:

    …arguments about “who started it” are completely useless except as propaganda to demonise the other side.

    That’s generally the stance taken by those defending the ones who did, after all, start it.

  14. Coca Bogdan says:

    Arabs are very controversive this days…and I don’t know why ? because they are in 3th word?

  15. J Thomas says:

    McGehee, no, the stance taken by those defending the ones who did after all start it, is almost always that actually the other side started it.

    People who argue about the israelis or palestinians starting it often argue it back to 1930, or 1923, or 1890 or whatever. I would expect that generally the zionist apologists would win at that because they have a bigger body of english-language documents to research, and more of their documents have survived, and more of them have the leisure to play that game.

    But I believe that it’s useless to argue about who was right in 1946 or 1930 unless the point is to demonise the other side and avoid any resolution short of genocide.

  16. Sam says:

    I must say, I was quite puzzled at some of the previous comments. Are some of them living in an altenate world? Or am I seriously misinformed as to Hamas’ goals, positions, and strategies? A little searching and it appears its the former:
    “…Hamas was formed in 1987 with the objective of destroying the Zionist entity that occupies Palestine, and establishing Palestine from the sea to the river based on Islamic principles….”
    “…The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up….”

    “…[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad: “Allah is the all-powerful, but most people are not aware.””