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Conflicting Polls Paint Palestinians as Either Open to US Peace Plan, or Open to Intifada

August 4, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Are the Palestinians open to Trump’s peace plan or rejecting it sight-unseen? Depends on who you ask. Illustrative photo of Palestinian event. By Joshua Spurlock

A pair of recent polls of Palestinians offer contradictory views on peace, especially the not-yet-unveiled United States peace plan from the Trump Administration. One poll shows uncertainty and a wait-and-see approach, while another poll shows strong opposition to the plan and even support for a return to a violent uprising, or intifada.

The Palestine Center for Public Opinion poll, conducted June 27-July 19, took the more positive view. The poll, according to an article on The Washington Institute for Near East Peace website, showed the majority of Palestinians polled preferred that either the Palestinian Authority (PA) should wait to take a position on the US peace plan until they’ve actually seen it or that the PA should “not reject the plan, so Israel won’t be able to take advantage” of that rejection. Roughly 25% support each of those positions, versus roughly one-third who call for the PA to reject the plan already, sight-unseen.

However, while this poll seemed to present a moderated view on US President Donald Trump’s peace vision for the Middle East, another Palestinian poll conducted June 27-30 by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) found the opposite view. 75% of those polled called for the PA to reject the plan—more than double those holding that view in the other poll. Just 15% said the plan should be accepted with reservations and only 4% called for accepting it without reservations.

Furthermore, the poll—published to the PCPSR website—found that the largest group of those polled, 38%, believe that “armed struggle” is the most effective path to achieving Palestinian statehood. This narrowly edged out the negotiations approach, which polled at 35%. Non-violent resistance polled at 23%.

Despite the above view on violence, slightly more Palestinians polled still backed a peace agreement with Israel as the most desirous method for ending the current status quo, versus 34% who wanted armed conflict with Israel.

The Palestine Center for Public Opinion poll, by contrast, found a majority of Palestinians polled wanted Arab governments to get more involved in the Palestinian-Israel peace process to offer the two sides incentives to “take more moderate positions.”

The two polls did manage to agree that most Palestinians with an opinion take an unfavorable view of the recent US-led economic workshop in Bahrain, which was intended to drum up economic support for the Palestinians as part of a broader peace push.

The Palestine Center for Public Opinion spoke with 500 Palestinians in the West Bank and another 500 in Gaza with a roughly 4% margin of error, while the PCPSR poll interviewed 1200 persons in various locations with a margin of error of 3%.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, recently posted to Twitter that he had an “important meeting” with Trump senior advisor Jared Kushner, US envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt, and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Netanyahu has called for waiting to see what is in the Trump peace plan before taking a position on it and has repeatedly expressed appreciation for Trump’s actions in the region.

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, August 4, 2019)

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