Survey: 66% of Palestinians support peace negotiations

85% replied that they would be unsupportive of a peace deal in which compromises were made on key Palestinian issues such as the right of return, J'lem.

November 12, 2010 06:04
3 minute read.
Palestinians  chant slogans as they attend a rally

Palestinians protest talks 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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A survey of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip showed that a 66% majority of Palestinians support peace negotiations, with an even larger majority favoring direct talks, according to a report released by the Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD) this week.

The survey, conducted between October 20-22, covered Palestinian attitudes towards the peace process and prospects for peace, but also revealed rarely-seen numbers regarding popular support for Hamas in Gaza, confidence in the Palestinian Authority and perceptions of corruption under PA and Hamas rule.

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While the data from the survey showed that 66% of Palestinians would support Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in negotiations on final status issues, a whopping 85% replied that they would be unsupportive of a peace deal in which compromises were made on key Palestinian issues such as the right of return, Jerusalem, borders and settlements. However, a majority of respondents said that they considered a two-state solution to be the most realistic/achievable scenario. Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed rated their attitudes toward a two-state solution to the conflict, ranging from "essential" to "tolerable."

One of the questions posed was directly related to the current obstacles facing the peace process: If any, what conditions must exist for Abbas to engage in direct negotiations with Israel? the result was that only 24% of respondents indicated a renewed settlement freeze was necessary for talks to take place.

Responding to the poll's results that 45% of respondents declared a one-state solution is "unacceptable," Zionist Organization of America President Morton A. Klein said the results make it clear that "the vast majority of Palestinians do not accept Israel's existence under any circumstances," in a press release on Friday." He continued, "Even the so-called 'one state solution' is not at all supported if it requires equal rights and equal power for Jews."

Klein stated that the poll showed, "that the bulk of Palestinians want an Arab-dominated Palestinian state on all the territory of Israel, not a peaceful polity of their own alongside Israel." However, the AWRAD researchers who conducted the poll wrote in their report that a two-state peace settlement "was identified as the most desirable and most realistic solution." The report also claimed that their results confirm a Palestinian, "in-principle commitment" to peace, saying that hesitance to support the process stems from disappointment in its ability to deliver results.

Of all of the results, the differences in responses from residents of the West Bank and those from the Gaza Strip were especially telling. Gazans consistently gave their local governing bodies negative ratings. Surprisingly, when asked who they would vote for if Palestinian elections were held today, 47% of respondents from Gaza said they would vote for Fatah with only 12% supporting Hamas. The results showed stronger support for Fatah in the Strip than in the West Bank; only 38% of those surveyed in the latter region expressed support for the party.

The same trend showed even stronger support for Mahmoud Abbas in hypothetical presidential elections. When asked which faction they trust most, the respondents overwhelmingly stated "Fatah," with only 13% placing their trust in Hamas.

Another of the differences between Gazans and West Bank residents were their attitudes towards direct negotiations. Eighty-one percent of Gazans said they support direct negotiations whereas only 68% of West Bank residents responded positively. However, Gazans were more likely to support violence as a form of resistance.

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