Poll: Palestinians seek normalcy over statehood

Disapproval of Hamas rose among Palestinians over past year, but two-thirds majority support kidnapping Israeli soldiers.

July 22, 2011 02:28
3 minute read.
Palestinian pro Egypt rally at Rafah crossing

Palestinian rally at Rafah crossing 521. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)


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Palestinians want their leaders to focus on creating jobs and expanding healthcare, rather than the declaration of statehood, a poll revealed.

They also feel distanced from the events of the Arab Spring, and are more interested in diplomatic engagement with Israel over violence.

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A two-thirds majority sees a single Palestinian state as the ultimate goal, and supports kidnapping Israeli soldiers.

The survey of 1,010 Palestinians (656 in the West Bank and 353 in the Gaza Strip), conducted by Stanley Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research along with the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, posed questions on the the leadership of Hamas and Fatah, the Arab Spring, the two-state solution and Obama’s role in negotiations.

Eighty percent of the Palestinians polled listed the creation of jobs as one of the two top priorities for the Palestinian people. Healthcare was named as a priority by 36% of respondents, and 23% chose education.

While 64% of the participants in the poll support seeking UN recognition of a Palestinian state, only 4% listed it as a top priority. Only 1% said promoting mass protests against Israel was of great importance.

When asked about the Palestinian role in the Arab Spring, 74% of those polled said they agreed or strongly agreed they are “not really a part of the revolutions,” and 64% said they worry that the revolutions “will bring instability to the Palestinian territories.”

Disapproval of both Hamas and Iran has jumped since last year and 67% of those polled, up from 56% in October 2010, felt critical toward Hamas, while 77%, up from 55% last year, felt unfavorable towards Iran. Many see Iran as pursuing its own agenda, with 73% claiming "it is not a friend of the Palestinian people."

Most of those polled agreed a reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah serves the Palestinian national interest, and 81% said they support or strongly support it.

Of those polled in both the West Bank and Gaza, 55% said they expect Fatah to govern a Palestinian state, while only 13% expect Hamas to. Enthusiasm for voting is on the rise in both Gaza and the West Bank, with 81% saying they would vote in an upcoming election.

Diplomatic engagement with Israel is enjoying strong support in both Gaza and the West Bank, with 65% supporting it and only 30% advocate violent resistance. Those who do support violence tend to be less educated and more religious than those advocating for diplomacy.

Only 12% of those polled believe Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to be a genuine advocate for a two-state solution, with 81% claiming he “isn't really serious about wanting peace.”

While just 27% of respondents trust US President Barack Obama to support their interests, 57% agreed with his statement that a border “should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually- agreed swaps.”

Despite this, there was a significant drop in those expressing support for a twostate solution – only 44%, down from 60% in October. A two-thirds majority said the real goal should be to start with a two-state solution and then move to a single Palestinian state.

When asked to label actions as morally “right” or “wrong,” 62% said the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers is right, and 61% said naming streets after suicide bombers is right. Only 29% said the killing of a family in Itamar in March was morally right, and 59% said firing rockets at Israeli citizens and cities is wrong. In regards to Gilad Schalit, 56% are in favor of his capture and 51% would oppose his release.

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