Poll: Palestinian youth divided on return to negotiating table

Forty-six percent of youth from West Bank, Gaza, support immediate return to peace process, according to AWRAD poll.

By GABRIELLA TZVIA WEINIGER
August 12, 2013 20:08
2 minute read.
A Palestinian youth gestures in front of the Dome of the Rock t in Jerusalem's Old City.

Palestinian youth peace sign outside Dome of Rock, 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Marko Djurica)

 
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Palestinian youth from the West Bank and Gaza are divided on the issue of negotiations, with 46 percent supporting and 48 percent opposing an immediate return to negotiations with the Israelis, a poll published by the Institute of Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD) revealed on Monday.

The focus of the survey was to detect youth attitudes towards the peace process and negotiations, and was conducted amongst 1,200 Palestinian youth (18-30 years old) in the West Bank and Gaza. The results provide illustrative data on the attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs of Palestinian youth, providing contrasts with AWRAD’s January 2012 survey. The poll was conducted with a margin of error of 3%.

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Only 25 percent of youth reported having "more hope" for the peace process at this time compared to one year ago. In contrast, 38 percent stated they have "less hope" and 36 percent have the same level of hope as they had a year ago, going to show that the resuscitation of the peace process in recent weeks has failed to instal new-found hope amongst youth in the territories.

Interestingly, support for a return to negotiations among Gaza youth was slightly higher than West Bank youth (48 percent to 45 percent).

This may be explained by the decline in support of the two-state-solution, down from 57 percent in 2012 to 47 percent today.

The significant decline is attributable to West Bank youth, where 47 percent support a two-state solution now, compared to 57 percent in early 2012

It is important to note that there was no significant change amongst attitudes in Gaza, with 41 percent supporting and 56 percent opposing the two-state ideal.



Additionally, 54.1 percent of those surveyed believed Palestine was heading "in the wrong direction," with 40 percent feeling pessimistic about the future - more so in the Gaza Strip than the West Bank.

In general, there was high support for peaceful methods being employed to resolve the conflict, with 62 percent choosing "peaceful methods" to end the occupation.

Twenty-five percent chose direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine; 20 percent a non-violent popular uprising; and 17 percent an international conference imposing a solution on both parties.

Opposingly, 31 percent chose armed or militant confrontations as the best means to end the occupation.

However, support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas remained high among youth, with 65 percent stating they would support decisions made by the president to achieve a Palestinian state. Unsurprisingly, support was higher in the West Bank (68 percent) than Gaza (60 percent).

When presented with hypothetical elections, choosing between Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, 45 percent of those asked selected Abbas while 23 percent selected Haniyeh.

The results of the poll appear to demonstrate disillusionment among Palestinian youth, especially in the West Bank, concerning the peace process. It is important to note that these youth were 10 years old or younger when the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993.

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