Most West Bank Palestinians oppose uprising — poll
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Most West Bank Palestinians oppose uprising — poll

Survey shows wide gaps between residents of West Bank and Gaza, where 8 in 10 want more knife attacks

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

File: A Palestinian protester holds a national flag during clashes with Israeli security forces along the border with Israel in the eastern suburbs of Gaza City on December 4, 2015.(AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS)
File: A Palestinian protester holds a national flag during clashes with Israeli security forces along the border with Israel in the eastern suburbs of Gaza City on December 4, 2015.(AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS)

Slightly more than half of West Bank Palestinians (52 percent) oppose continuing the violent uprising against Israel, while three quarters of their Gazan counterparts (76 percent) are in favor, a survey published Sunday shows.

In a separate question, 80% of Gazans expressed support for continuing the current round of knife attacks, while 54% of West Bank residents opposed it.

Since the start of the current wave of Palestinian terrorism and violence in September, there have been 202 stabbings and attempted stabbings, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, as well as 82 shootings and 41 car rammings, with 34 people killed. Some 180 Palestinians have also been killed, about two thirds while carrying out or attempting to carry out attacks, and the rest in clashes with the IDF, Israel says.

The poll, published Sunday by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center, shows a sharp drop in support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (down from 52.4% in August to 45.3% this month) and for PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (down from 25.5% a year ago to 22.2%).

It also reveals that support for Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, is down (from 22% last March to 16.5% this month), while trust in Abbas’s Fatah Party remains stable (35.5%, compared to 34% last March).

Furthermore, more than eight in 10 Palestinians (82.1%) opposed the Islamic State, and just over half believe IS is harming the Palestinian cause.

A lack of confidence in the Palestinian leadership overall was reflected when pollsters asked who was trusted most. Abbas came first with 14.4%, followed by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah (10.8%) and Marwan Barghouti, who secured 9.9%, up from 5.4% a year ago. Barghouti is a senior PLO official found guilty by an Israeli court in 2002 of terrorism and murder for planning bomb attacks on civilians.

Seven in 10 Palestinians still back a two-state solution that would give them an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, with just a quarter of those questioned supporting a binational state with equal rights for Arabs and Jews.

And just over half (52.7 %) favor continuing security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians if halting it would spell the suspension of permits in areas such as medical referrals to Israel.

Nearly a quarter of those polled backed the European Union as the most credible mediator, should peace talks resume, with only 4.9% preferring the United States.

A sample of 1,200 Palestinians was interviewed, 750 from the West Bank and 450 from Gaza.

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