The Trump effect: Slight uptick in Palestinian support for peace talks

Poll finds plurality of Palestinians believe Trump is at least somewhat capable of achieving a deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

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May 28, 2017 17:09
2 minute read.
Donald Trump in Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and US President Donald Trump listen to anthems during a welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Bethlehem on May 23, 2017. (photo credit: THOMAS COEX / AFP)

 
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A plurality of Palestinians support resuming peace negotiations with Israel, according to a public opinion poll published on Sunday.

Forty-nine percent of Palestinians who were asked – 43% in the West Bank and 57% in the Gaza Strip – said they support the revival of negotiations which broke down three years ago. Forty-five percent said they oppose resumption of the talks and 6% said they don’t know.

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The poll of 500 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza was conducted from May 21 through May 23 by Arab World for Research and Development, a Ramallah-based research institute.




Institute president Nader Said told The Jerusalem Post that the poll shows a minor increase in support for restarting negotiations compared to previous polls. Before US President Donald Trump’s election in November, a poll by the institute showed that 46% of Palestinians supported renewing negotiations with Israel, while 45% were opposed and 9% didn’t know.

“The extra support is most likely related to the recent movement, including Trump’s visit to the Middle East and [Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas’s visit to Washington,” Said added.

Abbas met with Trump during a visit to Washington on May 5, and Trump spoke with the Palestinian leader on May 23 in Bethlehem.





The poll also found that a majority of Palestinians believe Trump is at least somewhat capable of achieving a deal between Israel and the Palestinians to resolve the decades-old conflict.


The poll also found that a majority of Palestinians believe Trump is at least somewhat capable of achieving a deal between Israel and the Palestinians to resolve the decades-old conflict.

Twenty-one percent of Palestinians said they felt Trump was capable and 29% believed he was somewhat capable of achieving an agreement, while 45% said they thought he was incapable of forging a deal.

Said explained that while a large percentage of Palestinians have traditionally held that the US is able to make an agreement between the two sides, most Palestinians have maintained that the American government is not serious about achieving that goal.

The poll found that only 9% of Palestinians believed Trump was serious about brokering a peace deal.



Trump has said repeatedly that he would like to bring about a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, including on a number of occasions during his trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

“I am committed to trying to achieve a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Trump said last week in Bethlehem. “I intend to do everything I can to help achieve that goal.”

However, Trump has not outlined a vision for how he plans to bridge the differences between the two parties in order to negotiate a deal, except for saying that both sides will have to make concessions.

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