If Ramallah has a center, it is Al-Manara Square. Six roads meet here, and pedestrians weave their way confidently across the tight roundabout, forcing cars to make way. It is always busy.
Demonstrators will rally here to protest, but when CNN visited on a Sunday morning, people were going about their business. All the same, photos from the war in Gaza posted in the square and hung on banners and fences remind anyone who needs reminding of the horrors unfolding not far away.
“This destruction resembles the conscience of the world,” reads one poster, under a picture of rescue workers clearing rubble.
Another photograph shows ambulances outside a hospital with the text, “Medical Heroes demand action: Stop the Massacre in Gaza!”
At his office about a mile away, where desks and shelves groan under piles of paperwork, Khalil Shikaki is thinking about the conflict.
Palestinians, he says, overwhelmingly support the Hamas decision to go to war with Israel.
His research company, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR), has just published the findings of its latest survey into Palestinian attitudes.
Seven hundred and fifty adults were interviewed face to face in the West Bank, and 481 were interviewed in Gaza, also in person. The Gaza data collection was done during the recent truce, when it was safer for researchers to move about.
The survey, which has a four-point margin of error (rather than the usual three-point), found that almost three-quarters (72%) of all respondents believe Hamas’s decision to launch its attack on Israel on October 7 was “correct.”
Less than a quarter (22%) said it was “incorrect.”
But that doesn’t mean support for atrocities, he adds. “No one should see this as support for any atrocities that might have been committed by Hamas on that day.”
“Palestinians believe that diplomacy and negotiations are not an option available to them, that only violence and armed struggle is the means to end the siege and blockade over Gaza, and in general to end the Israeli occupation,” Shikaki said.
Read more about the poll.