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Qatari poll: Only 5% of MENA Arabs oppose Oct. 7 massacre

Around two-thirds said the Hamas terror attacks in southern Israel were a "legitimate resistance operation."

Israeli soldiers remove corpses in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, near the Gaza border, Oct. 10, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
Israeli soldiers remove corpses in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, near the Gaza border, Oct. 10, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.

Arabs across the Middle East and North Africa overwhelmingly view Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre, which left over 1,200 people dead in Israel and saw 240 others kidnapped to Gaza, as “legitimate resistance,” according to a new survey of 16 nations throughout the region conducted earlier this month.

The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, a think tank funded by Qatar, polled some 8,000 Arabs in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen and the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria between Dec. 12, 2023 and Jan. 5, 2024.

The Doha-based institute claimed the surveyed individuals represented more than 95% of the Arab population in the region.

Around two-thirds said the Oct. 7 terror attacks in southern Israel were a “legitimate resistance operation”; 19% said that the massacre was a “somewhat flawed but legitimate resistance operation.”

Only 5% denounced Hamas’s war crimes as an “illegitimate operation,” while 3% said that it was a “legitimate resistance operation that involved heinous (unacceptable) or even criminal acts.”

The massacre received the highest support in Libya, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and among Palestinians, with a staggering 0% of Judea and Samaria residents agreeing that the atrocities of Oct. 7, which also included beheadings, rape and other sexual offenses, were illegitimate.

Approximately 35% of Arabs believe that the primary reason for Hamas’s murder spree was “the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.” A quarter attributed it primarily to “defending al-Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem’s Old City] against attacks,” according to the new study.

Most Arabs said they disapproved of recognizing the State of Israel, with 89% saying they would support rejecting or revoking such a move, up from 84% in 2022. Meanwhile, support for the recognition of the Jewish state was the highest in Sudan (14%), Lebanon (8%) and Morocco (7%).

Just over half of the respondents said they considered the United States to be the biggest threat to the security and stability of the region, followed by Israel (26%) and the Islamic Republic of Iran (7%).

Asked if there was a shift in their attitude toward the United States in the wake of Israel’s defensive operation in Gaza, 76% reported that their position had become more negative, 19% said that their position had not changed and 1% reported that their position had become more positive.

The Qatari poll confirmed previous studies showing that Palestinian Arabs overwhelmingly support the wholesale murder of Jewish men, women and children by Islamist terrorists.

A poll published last month by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that nearly three in four Palestinians believe that Hamas was “correct” in launching the Oct. 7 attacks.

When asked to rate their satisfaction with various Palestinian actors, Hamas took the lead among the respondents with 72% satisfaction, followed by Hamas chief in Gaza Yahya Sinwar (69%) and the Islamist terror group’s “political” leader, Ismail Haniyeh (51%).

According to the PSR, more than half believe that Hamas is “the most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people today.”

A separate poll released just weeks earlier found that slightly more than three in four Palestinians have a positive view of Hamas in the wake of its most recent terrorist attacks against civilians in Israel.

The Arab World for Research and Development survey found that 48.2% of respondents characterize Hamas’s role as “very positive,” while 27.8% view Hamas as “somewhat positive.” Almost 80% regard the role of Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades “military” wing as positive.

When asked whether they supported or opposed Hamas’s actions, 59.3% of the Palestinians surveyed said they “extremely” supported the attacks and 15.7% said they “somewhat” supported the bloodbath.

Almost all (98%) of the respondents said the slaughter made them feel “prouder of their identity as Palestinians.”

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