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Survey: Palestinians unsure Obama can secure peace
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
09/21/2010
We will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state, reiterates Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf.
 
Two-thirds of Palestinians don’t believe that US President Barack Obama is capable of securing an agreement that would lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, according to a poll published on Monday.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling faction reiterated that it would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

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Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf rejected demands that the Palestinians accept Israel as a Jewish state, saying it would violate international law and threaten to sabotage the peace talks.

Recognizing Israel as a Jewish state would mean that “millions of Palestinians would be expelled from their historic homes and lands – and this will never happen,” the Fatah spokesman added.

Assaf’s remarks came as PA negotiators prepared to leave for Washington to attend USsponsored direct talks with Israel.

The poll also showed that a majority of Palestinians supports peace talks with Israel.

The survey, which covered 1,010 Palestinians, was conducted by the Bethlehembased Palestinian Center for Public Opinion headed by Dr.

Nabil Kokali. It has a margin of error of 2 percent and was conducted in the first week of August.

Sixty-six percent of respondents said they did not believe in Obama’s capability to bring about the establishment of a Palestinian state, Kokali said.

About 80% said they did not believe that mediation efforts by US envoy George Mitchell would advance the cause of peace.

Sixty-two percent said they supported direct and indirect peace talks with Israel, while 31% voiced opposition.

The poll found that an overwhelming majority of 86% was opposed to the annexation of the West Bank to Israel and the granting of Israeli citizenship to its Palestinians.

Only 10% favored the idea.

Nearly 55% favored a twostate solution, while 26% said they preferred a binational state as part of a one-state solution.

Asked to evaluate the performance of the two Palestinian governments in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, 55% said they preferred PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to his Hamas rival Ismail Haniyeh, who got the backing of only 22%.

Fifty-seven percent praised the Fayyad government in the West Bank for implementing reforms, while 27% expressed the opposite. More than half of those polled said that corruption had declined under Fayyad.

Speaking to reporters in Ramallah on Monday, Fayyad unveiled the second phase of his plan to create institutions for a Palestinian state within one year. His government was planning to create a reality on the ground that would be hard to ignore.

The Palestinian government is to focus on imposing law and order, transparency and accountability, and combatting corruption.

“In the second year of its plan, the government is seeking to stress national preparedness for the establishment of the state of Palestine,” Fayyad said. He admitted that the PA was facing financial difficulties, making it hard for it to meet basic needs.

In the past year alone his government succeeded in implementing 2,000 projects in various fields, including infrastructure, water and health development, Fayyad said.

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