Palestinians becoming more extreme in their positions – poll

Percentage of West Bank and Gaza residents who support ‘armed resistance’ rises to 35% — 5% more than last year

Khaled Abu Toameh is the Palestinian Affairs correspondent for The Times of Israel

Illustrative: A Palestinian hurls a Molotov cocktail toward Israeli security forces during clashes, near the city of Hebron, in the West Bank, on October 11, 2015. (AFP/Hazem Bader)
Illustrative: A Palestinian hurls a Molotov cocktail toward Israeli security forces during clashes, near the city of Hebron, in the West Bank, on October 11, 2015. (AFP/Hazem Bader)

Palestinians are becoming more extreme in their positions, especially with regards to the two-state solution, peace negotiations and the level of trust in their leaders and factions, a public opinion poll published on Sunday showed.

The percentage of Palestinians who support “armed resistance,” including terror attacks, against Israel has also risen compared with previous surveys, according to the results of the poll, which was conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center in cooperation with the German foundation Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

The poll, which was conducted in the West Bank and Gaza Strip between January 27 and February 2, covered a random sample of 1,200 people and has a margin of error of three percent.

The findings showed that support for the two-state solution has dropped to 35%. In contrast, a poll conducted in February 2017 showed that 49% of those surveyed supported the two-state solution.

Meanwhile, the percentage of those who support a binational state has increased from 18% (in February 2017) to 23% in the current poll.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the United Nations Security Council on February 20, 2018. (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary)

The percentage of Palestinians who support negotiations with Israel has also dropped, from 37% (in February 2017) to 25%.

The poll showed that the percentage of Palestinians who support “armed resistance” against Israel was 35%, up from 30% in a poll that was conducted last year.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s standing among his people also seems to be consistently declining, according to the results.

Still, support for nonviolent “resistance” rose to 30% in the new poll after it was 24% a year ago, the results indicated.

A poll conducted in July 2016 showed that 44% of respondents were satisfied with the PA president’s performance. The current poll, however, showed that the figure had dropped to 39%.

Palestinians’ trust in their political factions and personalities has also decreased, the poll showed. The percentage of those who do not trust any political personality rose to 52% in this poll after it was 40% in another survey conducted in August 2017.

In addition, the percentage of respondents who do not trust any political or religious faction rose to 53% in this poll after it was 42% in August last year.

Both Hamas and Fatah have lost support among the Palestinians, the poll found. A comparison between previous polls and the current one shows that support for Fatah has dropped from 25% to 23%, while support for Hamas dropped from 14% to nine percent.

The poll showed that an overwhelming majority of 96% of respondents are opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital.

Moreover, more than 55% of those surveyed said they did not expect the Palestinian leadership to implement its decisions to suspend recognition of Israel and halt security coordination between the PA security forces and the Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank. Another 54% said they expected the PA leadership to backtrack on its decision not to accept US mediation in any peace process with Israel.

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