Most young Palestinians support attacks on Israelis — poll
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Most young Palestinians support attacks on Israelis — poll

Vast majority of Gaza, West Bank youths say diplomacy won’t resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict, back current uprising against Israel

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Palestinians seen breaking a piece of the security barrier in the West bank city of Bir Nabala, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, November 8, 2014. (STR/Flash90)
Palestinians seen breaking a piece of the security barrier in the West bank city of Bir Nabala, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, November 8, 2014. (STR/Flash90)

A sweeping survey of young Palestinians published Monday found support for knife attacks targeting Israelis, with a majority of those polled saying terror attacks serve the Palestinian cause.

The Jerusalem Media and Communication Center poll, carried out across the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in April, indicated that 58 percent of Palestinians between the ages of 15 and 29 supported stabbings to one degree or another, but Gazans backed it significantly more than did their West Bank counterparts.

Over three-quarters of Gazans — 78.6% of the 365 polled — said they strongly or somewhat support knife attacks against Israelis, whereas 46.4% of West Bank residents expressed similar sentiments.

Nearly 38% of young Palestinians said they opposed stabbings – 47.4% in the West Bank but just 21.1% in the Gaza Strip.

Two-thirds of Gazans polled said the attacks serve the Palestinian cause, while just 40% of West Bank residents said the same. Only 21% of the total number of young Palestinians polled said the stabbings, which have persisted since October, are detrimental to the Palestinian cause.

Twenty-nine Israelis and four non-Israelis have been killed in the recent wave of terror attacks. Some 200 Palestinians have also been killed, some two-thirds of them while attacking Israelis, and the rest during clashes with troops, according to the Israeli army.

Israeli border policemen guard the Armon Hanatziv Promenade overlooking Jerusalem, April 25, 2015. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Israeli border policemen guard the Armon Hanatziv Promenade overlooking Jerusalem, April 25, 2015. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The survey had a margin of error of 3 percent, with a confidence level of 95%.

More than 60% expressed support for the current uprising, with 76% in the Gaza Strip backing it compared to 51% in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The sample population was split, however, on whether “military operations against Israeli targets” were appropriate given the current situation — with roughly 43% apiece saying they support and oppose them. Far more Gazans supported violence than West Bank residents — 52.6% compared to 37.8%. The poll didn’t specify whether “military operations against Israeli targets” included the deliberate targeting of civilians.

A plurality of Palestinians surveyed, 35.3%, said the current violence wouldn’t peter out, but would “continue to develop into a fully-fledged uprising.” Just shy of 30% said it would end “once particular goals are reached,” but didn’t specify what those goals were.

The majority polled (67%) said diplomacy wouldn’t resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a similar amount (69.2%) said Israelis and Palestinians couldn’t solve the conflict on their own, nor should like-minded Israeli and Palestinian activists work together to end the conflict (64.3%).

Asked what their preferred solution to the conflict would be, 42.8% voiced support for a two-state solution, whereas 19.1% opted for a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians. A nearly identical number preferred the option of just a Palestinian state (18.9%), even though it wasn’t included in the options given in the interviews.

Fifteen percent said there was no solution to the problem.

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