Only 11% who sympathise more with Palestinians approve of Hamas

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
March 20, 2024, 10:12 AM GMT+0

Most who are more on the Israeli side, by contrast, have a favourable view of the Israeli government

Earlier this month, the British government paid out £15,000 in a libel case after cabinet minister Michelle Donelan was found to have falsely accused Professor Kate Sang of sharing "extremist views" and expressing sympathy and support for Hamas.

While some may suspect that coming down on the Palestinian side of the debate in the Middle East conflict indicates some sort of sympathetic stance on Hamas, a new YouGov survey shows that Hamas supporters make up only a small minority among those with a more pro-Palestinian outlook.

Among those who say that they sympathise more with the Palestinians in the current conflict, 11% have a favourable view of Hamas (including just 3% with a “very” favourable view). By contrast, 77% of this group say they have an unfavourable view of Hamas, including 54% who have a “very” unfavourable view.

Likewise, only 14% of those who sympathise most with the Palestinian side say that Hamas’s attacks on 7 October were justified (70% say they were not), and 11% support expelling the Jews from the region (79% are opposed).

By contrast, fully 83% of those who sympathise more with the Palestinians support a two-state solution to the conflict in the Middle East.

Both Hamas and the Israeli government are unpopular among the British public

Among the wider British population, only 4% say they have a favourable view of Hamas, with 70% having an unfavourable one.

The Israeli government is also very unpopular, with just 15% having a positive opinion and 58% a negative one (including 34% who are “very” negative).

Only 5% of Britons see Hamas’ attack on Israel as justified; 24% say the same of the continuing Israeli attack on Gaza.

The large majority who sympathise more with Israel have a positive view of the Israeli government

Attitudes towards the Israeli government and its actions are very different among more pro-Israel Britons (i.e. those who say they sympathise more with the Israeli side in the conflict).

Among this group, 71% have a favourable view of the Israeli government, and 87% say the Israeli attack on Gaza is justified.

A quarter (24%) support expelling the Palestinians as a way of resolving the conflict in the region, although as with all other groups, the most supported proposal is for the two-state solution, at 66%.