Tuesday, July 06, 2004


Interesting Poll Results from Israel/Palestine

Although the prevailing wisdom is that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, a recent poll shows that the Palestinian support for Sharon's Gaza disengagement plan, which could have allowed for a much smoother pull-out and handover of the Gaza Strip, has disapated over the past five months or so.
Palestinian support for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan has plummeted since it was first unveiled in February: At that time, 73 percent of Palestinians backed it, but today, only 34 percent do so, while 65 percent oppose it.
Possibly another nail in the coffin of the Gaza withdrawal (I believe it could happen, but I'm not going to hold my breath). The poll results also point to a great opportunity for reform in the Palestinian terroritories. There is some unpleasant news regarding the potential changes or lack of change in Palestinian politics were elections held today:
Some 28 percent of Palestinians said they would vote for Hamas or Islamic Jihad in free elections, compared to 26 percent who would support Fatah candidates, 17 percent who would vote for independents and 9 percent who would support clan representatives. In Gaza, support for the Islamic movements was especially strong, at 32 percent, compared to 23 percent for Fatah. But 54 percent of Palestinians said they would vote for Arafat for president.
These, as well as other pushes for reform, show a desire to dilute Arafat's power:
Support for reform of the Palestinian security services was very high: Some 81 percent of Palestinians favor unifying them and putting them under the cabinet's control, and 87 percent support the appointment of a strong interior minister to oversee them.
I think the most telling statistics are in regards to the "winning" of the intifada. As I've mentioned earlier, there has been some discussion over whether Israel has silently emerged as the victor in the current intifada. Well, if they did, nobody informed the Palestinians or the Israelis.
With regard to the intifada, 69 percent of Palestinian respondents said that the violence of the past four years had achieved national goals that could not have been achieved through negotiations. Some 40 percent said the Palestinians are winning the war, compared to only 16 percent who thought that Israel is winning; 37 percent thought that neither side is winning.

Israeli respondents agreed with this perception: Some 26 percent said the Palestinians are winning, compared to only 11 percent who thought that Israel is winning, while 57 percent thought neither side is winning.
So more Palestinians think that Israel is winning the intifada than Israelis? It's time that there was some effort spent by the US administration in supporting some bi-lateral actions and negotiations.

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