Palestinians more pessimistic about peace with Israel under Trump
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Palestinians more pessimistic about peace with Israel under Trump

Poll finds majority of Gaza, West Bank residents doubt peace deal with Israel can be secured under new US administration

Palestinian demonstrators stand on a poster of US President Donald Trump as they protest against his support of Israel and demand for the Israeli army to re-open Shuhada Street near a Jewish settler enclave in the heart of the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron, which it has largely closed off to Palestinians, on February 24, 2017. (AFP/Hazem Bader)
Palestinian demonstrators stand on a poster of US President Donald Trump as they protest against his support of Israel and demand for the Israeli army to re-open Shuhada Street near a Jewish settler enclave in the heart of the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron, which it has largely closed off to Palestinians, on February 24, 2017. (AFP/Hazem Bader)

The majority of Palestinians have become increasingly pessimistic at the prospect of reaching a peace deal with Israel since the election of US President Donald Trump, a poll published on Thursday indicated.

According to a survey by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre (JMCC) of 1,199 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, 53.7 percent of respondents said they were less hopeful a peace deal could be struck under the auspices of the new US administration, while only 4.7% reported feeling more optimistic.

In comparison, in a similar poll carried out after the election of president Barack Obama in 2009, 18.9% of Palestinians reported feeling pessimistic regarding peace prospects, while 28.1% expressed hope.

The rest foresaw no change due the election of an American president.

Trump’s election has provoked deep concern among Palestinians, who have repeatedly denounced the US president’s support of Israeli settlement policies and his campaign promise to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

While Trump has recently signaled a shift from his previous blanket support of Israeli policies, the JMCC poll indicated a vast majority Palestinians remained concerned by the prospective embassy move and support retaliatory measures against Israel and the US in response.

US President Donald Trump and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands during a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House on February 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. (AFP/Mandel Ngan)
US President Donald Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands during a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House on February 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. (AFP/Mandel Ngan)

Some 23.4% said the best response would be the cancellation of the Palestinian recognition of Israel, 19.7% said they supported a boycott of the US Embassy, 18.7% backed lodging a complaint against the US at the UN and 16.5% supported the removal of the US as a sponsor of the peace process.

The poll comes amid reports the Trump administration is considering withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council, reportedly in part over the body’s bias against Israel.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley last month accused the UN Human Rights Council of “breathtaking double standards” and “outrageously biased resolutions” against Israel and US diplomat Erin Barclay called on the body to drop its “consistent, unfair and unbalanced focus” on Israel, which she said “deeply troubled” Washington.

In a leaked recording from a Likud faction meeting held earlier this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he suggested the US withdraw from the UNHRC during his February meeting with Trump in Washington.

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