Hamas-Fatah Conflict Growing, New Data Analysis Shows
The Washington, DC-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) just released what is billed as “the first-ever study mining the Arabic-language Palestinian social media environment to determine Palestinian public sentiment and its potential impact on U.S. foreign policy.” The report, “Palestinian Pulse: What Policymakers Can Learn From Palestinian Social Media,” made use of military-grade software to cull information from social networks.
Approximately 10,000 Palestinian social media entries between May 3 and August 3, 2010 were viewed, of which some 20 percent were analyzed for relevancy. In the end, 1,788 statements contained within 1,114 unique posts across 996 threads written by 699 authors were analyzed and the results were stunning.
Contrary to highly suspect but oft-reported Palestinian polling data, the conclusions in “Pulse” corroborate easily observed realities:
1) Hamas has little if any desire for peace with Israel.
2) Fatah is in internal disorder.
3) The cleavage between Hamas and Fatah is growing.
4) The likelihood of Palestinians trying to combat Iran’s influence in Gaza is slim at best.
The FDD study appears to show that the web could prove to be a more valuable barometer of politics on the ground than Palestinian polls, which provide no anonymity.