View Full Version : Percent of Palestinians who support terrorism?

01-01-2004, 09:36 PM
Roughly what percentage of Palestinians would answer the following question in the affirmative?

"Do you support terrorist attacks aimed at US civilian targets?"

How would that number change if "US" was replaced with "Israel?"

Speculations and poll citations welcomed.

Not a debate, but likely to become one.

01-01-2004, 09:50 PM
I recall a poll, some months ago, that 80 percent of Palestinians condemned the suicide attacks (in Israel). Of the remaining 20 percent I donīt know what their opinions were, probably a mix of "no opinion", pasive supporters and active supporters.

Sam Stone
01-01-2004, 10:09 PM
Actually, Ale, you have that backwards. Polls have continually showed support near 80% for the intifada, and specifically for suicide bombings in Israel.

Cite (http://www.pcpsr.org/survey/polls/2001/p3b.html).

In that poll, 37% of respondents said that terrorism is a justifiable way to achieve political goals. However, they're pretty narrow in their definition of terrorism, because more than half of the people surveyed felt that the 9/11 attack was NOT 'terrorism', and only 15.2% thought that the bombing of a nightclub in Israel by a Palestinian that left 21 civilians dead was terrorism. Over 80% of Palestinians thought that the bombing was not an act of terrorism.

More than half of Palestinians also felt that the Lockerbie bombing of a Pan Am Flight 403 was not terrorism.

As for attacks against the U.S., has everyone already forgotten the spontaneous demonstrations and cheering in the streets after 9/11?

01-01-2004, 10:54 PM
Thanks for the citeSam Stone. Scary, though I wonder if the word "terrorism" gets lost in translation. Do you happen to know any online sources for the demographics of Palestinians?

01-01-2004, 11:19 PM
Originally posted by Sam Stone
Actually, Ale, you have that backwards.

It wouldnīt be the first time :D

01-02-2004, 06:34 AM
No one supports terrorism. They just define it differently.

But another poll I saw recently showed something like 70% of Palestinians supporting continued attacks on Israel AFTER a peace agreement was signed.

I don't think that kind of attitude is going to make Israel want to trust them enough to sign anything with them.

01-02-2004, 10:42 AM
On the other hand Ale would have been closer to correct as recently as 1996, when by this account 21% supported suicide attacks and 70% opposed them:


The numbers change all the time. If you look at the polling data from groups like http://www.pcpsr.org and http://www.jmcc.org, though they come up with somewhat different results, they do both tend to show a general trend of increasing support for violence throughout the 1990's, peaking around 2001, then decreasing a little bit since then.

So JMCC's most recent poll shows support for suicide bombers to be still at a very high at ~60%, but down from 74% in 2001:


The latest pcpsr poll ( Sam's is more specific to the op, but is otherwise an older poll ) shows support for attacks against Israeli civilians ( which, problematically, does NOT include settlers -further evidence of just how variable definitions can be ) dropping to just under 50%:


At any rate, these sort of polls, as with all polls, need to be taken with a healthy dollop of salt ( both in the positive and negative aspects ), but they do seem to show that Palestinian popular opinion in the last decade appears to be highly situational. Which is a tiny bit of a silver-lining in an otherwise dismal state of affairs ( i.e. support for violence need not necessarily be an unyielding constant if relations ever improved - remote as that seems right now ).

- Tamerlane

01-02-2004, 11:01 AM
Very good point Tamerlane. Perhaps this point underlines the need for reliable and honest Palistinian leadership. If internal peace for Palestinians could be established, then perhaps fewer would support violence against non-Palistinians, too. In the meantime, Israel needs to do what it can to ensure its own internal peace, which necessitates protecting itself from external threats.