Western diplomats have turned to the previously neglected Palestinian Authority to fill the political vacuum likely to be created by the planned destruction of Hamas in Gaza, but know their chosen rescue vehicle is unpopular, deemed corrupt, and badly in need of a new generation of leaders that no one has yet been able to identify.


In the same letter, written on behalf of a group that calls itself the “Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace,” Awad writes that a “sizable number of Palestinians support Hamas because it is seen as less corrupt and more effective in governing than Fatah, not necessarily due to its ideology.”


Hamas’s political rule over the Gaza Strip has seen some social, economic and political activities that somewhat improved people’s lives, such as running schools. However, Hamas’s corruption also has an impact, and much of the group’s focus and spending goes on attacking Israel rather than domestic programmes.


So here we claim that Hamas is seen as less corrupt, but Hamas use most of its money to fund military activities. I couldn't find any hard data that proves or disproves the claim that Hamas is less corrupt, but is there a reason Palestinians feel that way, a reason why they feel that Hamas is less corrupt than the Palestinian Authority?

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    It is not quite true that Hamas spends all money on military - they build schools, hospitals, pay pensions, publish books and create children TV programs. All of it with a "resistance" bent - encouraging kids to become martyrs etc... but still.
    – Morisco
    Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 17:05
  • @RogerV. The question isn't claiming they spend all of their money on military, only "much" of it.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 17:10
  • The US spends a shitload of money on defense. Apparently, the voters agree with that. The UE is also boosting up their defense spending, even if their citizens would rather see it spent on welfare or other issues. If the Gaza population sees military spending with good eyes, Hamas spending most of its money in weapons it's perceived as "good". If Hamas could procure itself a modern anti-aircraft defense system, I guess everybody there would agree spending 300% of the budget in acquiring it.
    – Rekesoft
    Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 9:51
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    Just a note, not an answer: The PA has a lot of money to distribute, while Hamas is cut off from Western aid. That alone would, ceteris paribus, impose a lower corruption ceiling. Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 13:08
  • Are you a priori ruling out the explanation that Hamas is less corrupt? You should Google the rumors about Yasser Arafat's bank account.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


TBH a PSR poll in September 2023 didn't show a lot of difference.

Perception of corruption in PA institutions stands at 87%; 72% believe that there is corruption in Hamas-run institutions in the Gaza Strip. Three months ago, 84% said there is corruption in the PA institutions and 73% said there is corruption in public institutions run by Hamas.

I'm not entirely sure what is meant by "food and medicine corruption crimes", but the AMAN corruption monitoring NGO also reported

A rise was noted in citizens believing that food and medicine corruption crimes increased in 2021, as 70% of respondents attested to that (80% in the WB VS. 57% in the GS), marking a significant increase in 2021 when compared to the 59% result in 2020.


According to respondents of this survey, official services providing permits for [medical] treatment abroad are more vulnerable to the spread of bribery, especially in the GS. In this regard, 33% felt that this was the case showing a significantly higher percentage in the GS (37 percent) than in the WB (30 percent).

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    In a question about the main problem confronting Palestinian society today, the largest percentage, 25% (11% in the Gaz Strip and 35% in the West Bank), say it is corruption - 35% in WB vs 11% in GS is a big difference. So it could be that Palestinians in GS personally do experience less corruption than WB. Maybe Hamas corruption is limited to institutions and businesses from where it can extort money, where as Palestinians in WB face corruption in obtaining Government services where they have to personally bribe some government official. The former kind is easier to tolerate than the latter
    – sfxedit
    Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 17:00
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    87% vs 72% is huge. It means only 13% trust the PA, versus 28% trusting Hamas. That's with Hamas being open about terrorism. Just shows how distant from the people the PA is.
    – Therac
    Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 18:30
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    @sfxedit the main problem confronting Palestinian society today, the largest percentage, 25% (11% in the Gaz Strip and 35% in the West Bank), say it is corruption - 35% in WB vs 11% in GS Gaza is completely different from the West Bank. I suspect the Israeli blockade of Gaza alone would make a huge difference in the results of a "what is the main problem confronting Palestinian society today" poll. What I find most interesting in these results is the apparent increase of Palestinian support for "armed struggle" in Sep 22 to Sep 23, especially from the West Bank.
    – Just Me
    Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 22:19
  • @JustMe I agree that could be a factor too. Note though corruption tends to be worse in such blockade like economic scenarios as government officials try to exploit the people to enrich themselves. When people depend more on government, they are less likely to complain when some official demands bribe for a government service.
    – sfxedit
    Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 9:50
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    @sfxedit Nonsense: even if corruption is 100x worse in a prison than outside, if you ask prisoners what the biggest problem is they'll say "I'm in prison" not "corruption". Asking "What is the worst problem" is an objectively bad way to measure of how bad a problem is when comparing two very different polities.
    – Yakk
    Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 15:14

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