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August 05, 2015

Most Palestinians want economic cooperation with Israel, poll shows

A poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion and sponsored by a D.C.-based think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has findings that may be new to those who’ve followed the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Washington Institute fellow David Pollock characterized as a “surprise” a response that most Palestinian Arabs in both the Gaza Strip and West Bank (Judea and Samaria) want economic cooperation with Israel. He notes that “a majority (55 percent) in the West Bank, and nearly as many in Gaza (48 percent), also say they would ‘like to see Israeli companies offer more jobs inside’ those areas.”

This desire for jobs corresponds with what residents in areas polled stated to be their priorities: family and money. Only 14 percent of Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and 24 percent of Gazans polled said that “working to establish a Palestinian state” was their top priority. In contrast, “making enough money to live” and “having a good family life” polled much higher in both areas.

The Palestinian emphasis on increased economic cooperation contrasts with the stated objectives of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, advocated by groups like the Jewish Voice for Peace and others who support the economic ghettoization of Israel. BDS was founded by Palestinian “civil society groups”—including U.S.-listed terror groups Hamas and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade of Fatah, and Syrian extremist groups. The latter of these groups have the stated objective of destroying Israel; the BDS movement seeks to wage economic warfare against the Jewish state. Although such a goal appears to be in conflict with many Palestinian Arabs—as this data illustrates.

The poll also showed a sharp difference in the opinions of West Bank Arabs and those in the Strip regarding “responsibility for the slow pace of reconstruction in Gaza.” Forty percent of the former put most of the blame on Israel. Conversely, a plurality (40 percent) of those actually living in Gaza blamed Hamas—which has ruled the region since the first and only elections in 2006—more than they blamed Israel (29 percent).

By a large majority, Gazans (88 percent) said the Palestinian Authority (PA)—which through the corrupt Fatah organization currently rules the West Bank and was ousted from Gaza by a violent Hamas-led coup in 2007—“should take over the administration” there.

When it comes to peace with Israel, 58 percent of West Bankers and 65 percent of Gazans polled said that even if a “two-state solution” is negotiated, “the struggle is not over and resistance should continue until all of historic Palestine [Israel] is liberated.” In other words, Palestinian Arabs in both areas want to see Israel destroyed. 56 percent of the respondents in the West Bank and 84 percent in Gaza support the use of violent attacks to achieve this end. Despite this pronounced support for violence, 74 percent of West Bankers and 83 percent of Gazans say “Hamas should maintain a ceasefire with Israel.”

The survey firm, based in Beit Sahour in the West Bank, conducted its poll from June 7-19, interviewing representative samples of 513 Palestinians in the West Bank and 408 in Gaza, with an estimated margin of error of about 4.9 percent. The rest of the findings of the poll can be found here.Sean Durns

Posted by ER at August 5, 2015 03:31 PM

Comments

There are several conclusions which follow from these results.
1. setting up a Palestinian state which does not cooperate economically with Israel (like another Gaza) will not satisfy Palestinians in any way.
2. Most inhabitants of Gaza are sick and tired of Hamas and would prefer anything to its continued rule. Almost all would prefer rule by the Palestine Authority. Perhaps half would like better relations with Israel which would allow them to work there.
3. The inhabitants of the West Bank are not happy with the Palestine Authority.
4. Inhabitants of either area are envious of the Arabs who are citizens of Israel, and many and perhaps most would change places with them if they could.

Posted by: Daniel K at August 6, 2015 10:53 PM

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