Poll shows Palestinians support truce

An opinion survey in the occupied Palestinian territories has shown a majority of Palestinians support the ceasefire with Israel despite occasional violations by the Israeli army and Palestinian resistance fighters.

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    Sixty-three per cent of the people polled support Abbas

    The poll, conducted by the Bait-Sahur based Centre for Public Opinion and published on Monday, found that more than three-quarters of Palestinians supported the continuation of calm.

     

    More than 950 Palestinian adults in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem were randomly polled between 6 and 11 June to gather the statisctics.

     

    Only 7% of respondents said they were strongly against the ceasefire and approximately 13% said they were somewhat against it.

     

    However, a significant majority of 68% said they were worried or very worried about their personal security.

     

    The survey did not explain the widespread feelings of insecurity among Palestinians, but Professor Nabil Kukali, who supervised the study, argues that many Palestinians feel insecure for two reasons: firstly, the persistence of repressive Israeli measures, such as the near-daily incursions by the Israeli army into Palestinian population centres and the daily harassment Palestinians face when travelling through Israeli roadblocks and checkpoints.  

     

    Secondly, the increasing lawlessness and chaos in the West Bank and Gaza Strip which he said from the failure of the Palestinian Authority law-enforcement agencies to establish the rule of law.

     

    PA vs Hamas

     

    The ongoing dialogue between the Palestinian Authority and the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, seems to enjoy widespread support among Palestinians.

     

    The poll showed that more than three-quarters of Palestinians supported the dialogue between Fatah and Hamas.

     

    The majority support dialogue
    between Fatah and Hamas 

    However, Palestinians were divided over the possible renewal of suicide bomb-attacks, or martyrdom operations, against Israel in case the Israeli army resumed assassinations and house demolitions against Palestinians.

     

    The poll showed that up to 42% of Palestinians would support the resumption of suicide bombings against Israel if Israel decided to resume her own measures against Palestinians.

     

    More than 13% of respondents said they were strongly against resorting to suicide bombings irrespective of Israeli tactics. A significant 40% said they more or less believed that the era of suicide bombings was over and that this style of resistance was more harmful than beneficial for the Palestinian cause.

     

    However, Palestinians showed a conspicuous level of ambivalence towards the issue of violence as approximately 79% of respondents said they believed the al-Aqsa Intifada, which started in 2000, was still alive and continuing, although with a slower momentum.

     

    Most popular

     

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas remains the most popular Palestinian politician.

     

    Ahmed Quraya was more popular
    than Interior Minister Yousuf

    According to the poll, 63% of Palestinians said they supported Abbas in varying degrees.

     

    Prime Minister Ahmed Quraya received the support of 46% and Interior Minister Nasr Yousuf received 45%.

     

    The popularity of Abbas, also known as Abu Mazin, however, did not prevent nearly half the Palestinians from criticising his recent decision to postpone the legislative elections which were to take place on 17 July.

     

    Political affiliations

     

    When asked which political party they would vote for if elections were to be held today, Fatah came first with 37.2%, with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad coming next with a combined support of 28.1 per cent.

     

    "I think the Palestinian public is waiting to see how the road map is evolving"

    Professor Nabil Kukali,

    Centre for Public Opinion

    Six leftist groupings received a total support of 8%, while 15% described themselves as independents.

     

    The results of the poll, while giving PA leader Abbas the benefit of the doubt for the time-being, could reflect a growing frustration over the lack of progress in the peace process as well as in fighting rampant corruption.

     

    "I think the Palestinian public is waiting to see how the road map is evolving," Kukali told Aljazeera.net.

     

    He added, however, that "it is very likely that the views of the Palestinians would switch stridently toward radicalism if and when it became clear that Abbas could not deliver what he said he would achieve."

     

    Mood swings

     

    Earlier, some elements within the Israeli security establishment warned that unless Israel enabled Abbas to show certain achievements to vindicate his leadership, the pendulum of Palestinian public opinion could very quickly turn against him.

     

    Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon are due to meet on Tuesday to discuss the implantation of the American-backed road map for peace in the Middle East.

     

    The two, say observers in the West Bank, might reach a certain understanding on coordinating the planned Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, due to take place in mid-August.

     

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has just ended a two-day visit to Israel and the West Bank, pressed the leaders of both sides to work together to make the implementation of the withdrawal from Gaza as peaceful and smooth as possible.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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