Poll: Majority of Palestinians oppose continuing negotiations
Published Tuesday 17/12/2013 (updated) 17/12/2013 17:34
Palestinians walk past buildings that were heavily damaged by Israeli
attacks in 2008-9 in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah.
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A poll released by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion on Sunday shows that a majority of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are pessimistic about the current round of peace negotiations with Israel and oppose their continuation.
The poll also revealed that most Palestinians surveyed are "worried" about the potential for another confrontation with Israel amid general pessimism regarding Israeli intentions in the peace process.
"A majority of the Palestinians feel that the running negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis launched on July 30, 2013 have reached an impasse and that there is no need to continue, particularly due to the Israeli intransigence and the continuation of building settlements and the expansion of the existing ones, said the center's president Nabil Kukali in a statement.
"The majority of the Palestinian public anticipates the failure of these negotiations and is not optimistic about the prospect of their success," he added.
57.7 percent of Palestinians surveyed surveyed anticipate the failure of negotiations within the coming months, while less than 20 percent anticipated their success.
Meanwhile, 53 percent of Palestinians surveyed thought that Israel was not willing to "bring the peace negotiations to success," while only 37.4 thought that Israel was willing.
51.3 percent of respondents opposed the continuation of negotiations with Israel, while only 33.6 percent supported their continuation.
The results differed significantly between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, however, as 42.6 percent of Gaza Strip respondents said they were in favor of continuing the negotiations with Israel against 27.7 percent in the West Bank.
Survey results reflected widespread pessimism and uncertainty in the Palestinian territories, as direct peace negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel since July fail to make headway.
At the same time, the seven-year-old Israeli blockade of Gaza persists while Israel military occupation and incursions against Palestinians in the West Bank continue unabated.
Respondents were split on the issue of firing rockets against Israel, reflecting uncertainty regarding military resistance and fear of the potential for renewed confrontation.
While 49.1 percent of respondents favored launching rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel, 45.2 percent either opposed this tactic or were reluctant towards it.
67.4 were worried about the potential for another military confrontation with Israel, while only 22.8 were not.
Respondents in the Gaza Strip were far more likely than those in the West Bank to actually anticipate a confrontation in the near future, as 68.3 percent of Gaza Strip respondents said they expected one against 47.9 percent in the West Bank.
These fears likely reflect the fact that the Gaza Strip has seen two large-scale military assaults by Israel in the last few years, including in 2008-9 and 2011, which killed around 1,400 and 170 Gazans respectively and led to major infrastructural damage.
Respondents were not asked their opinions on the widespread non-violent resistance movement against the Israeli occupation, which occurs through weekly protests and marches as well as campaigns for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel.
The poll also touched upon issues of domestic politics, particularly the desire for renewed elections.
62.2 of Palestinians surveyed supported conducting presidential elections "immediately" in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while only 28 percent were opposed.
Similarly, 62.1 percent of respondents supported conducting legislative elections immediately, while 28.4 percent were opposed.
The poll was conducted between November 27 and December 2010 by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, and involved a random sampling of 1000 adult Palestinians from across the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
The survey was conducted face-to-face inside respondents' homes, and respondents were split almost equally between men and women.