A new survey of Muslim world opinion has found that the leader of Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, is more popular among Palestinians 51% of Palestinians approve of the global Islamist terrorist leader than in any other Muslim majority society other than Nigeria, where 54% of people expressed approval of him. The Pew Research Center survey, which produced these results, also noted that Palestinians widely identify with bin Ladens worldview.
The survey also showed high levels of Palestinian support for the Iranian-sponsored Lebanese Shia terrorist group, Hizballah 61% in contrast to far lower levels of popularity for the group in Lebanon itself (35%) and in neighboring Arab states like Egypt, where only 43% of people expressed support for the group. Palestinians also displayed even higher levels of approval for Hizballah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, with 65% of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and 71% in Gaza expressing support for him (Roee Nahmias, Palestinians favor bin Laden, Ahmadinejad over Hamas, Yediot Ahronot, February 18, 2010).
ZOA National Chairman of the Board Dr. Michael Goldblatt said, This Pew survey is revealing because it shows the extent to which Palestinian society is supportive of violent Islamist terrorist movements outside their own territory. Clearly, bin Ladens diatribes about Israel and a global Jewish conspiracy resonate among Palestinians.
It is also notable, for example, that nearly a third more Palestinians support Hizballah than Egyptians do. As for Hizballah leader, Sheikh Nasrallah, who said in 2002 that, If they [Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide and that If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say the Israeli, Palestinians disproportionately approve of him.
There have been numerous polls over the years showing majority Palestinian opposition to accepting Israels legitimacy as a Jewish state and support for terrorist attacks upon Israel, so that a high percentage of Palestinians approve of Al-Qaeda and Hizballah, relative even to other radical Muslim societies, should not surprise. However, what it should do is affect the crafting of policy towards the Palestinians by the Obama Administration and, in particular, put an end to basing U.S. policy on the groundless notion that Palestinians accept Israel and reject terrorism and violence in return for their own state alongside it.