By Julie Stahl, Jerusalem Bureau Chief

Following the recent Israeli-Hezbollah war in Lebanon, a majority of Palestinians say they should follow Hezbollah’s example and launch rockets into Israeli cities, a new poll showed.

Hezbollah launched more than 4,000 rockets into Israel killing dozens of Israelis and causing extensive damage throughout northern Israel during the 34-day war in July and August.

According to the results of a survey conducted by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), 63 percent of the Palestinians surveyed agreed that they should emulate Hezbollah’s methods by launching rockets at Israeli cities while 35 percent of Palestinians disagreed.

A majority of Palestinians also supported Hezbollah in July 2000 following Israel’s unilateral troop withdrawal from southern Lebanon. At the time, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah boasted that his group had done what no Arab nation in the last 50 years had done: defeat Israel. He encouraged the Palestinians to follow in his footsteps.

Five months after Israel’s troop withdrawal from Lebanon, the Palestinians launched their intifadah uprising, which has turned into a five-year terror campaign targeting Israeli cities as well as the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The new poll showed that about 57 percent of Palestinians support the idea of using suicide bombings and shooting attacks against Israelis.

But at the same time, about three-quarters of Palestinians supported the call for an Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire, and 74 percent said they believe that Palestinians cannot depend on violent actions only but must reach a political agreement with Israel.

The poll was based on the responses of 1,287 Palestinian adults in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In related news, Abu Ubaideh, a spokesman for Palestinian ruling party Hamas’s militant wing, said in an interview with a Hamas weekly that his group was benefiting from a lull in the fighting.

Hamas is using the time to develop and improve its missiles, which are able to reach the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, Abu Ubaideh said, according to a translation from the Palestinian Media Watch, an independent watchdog organization. He also said that the group was conducting military training throughout the Gaza Strip.

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