Palestinians oppose talks while settlements continue
The Centre for Palestine Research Studies in Nablus conducted its 15th public opinion poll February 2-4, interviewing a total of 1089 Palestinians 18 years or older; 669 interviewees were from the West Bank and 420 from Gaza.
The centre asked respondents their opinion on topics ranging from the continuation of the peace talks to Palestinian-Jordanian relations. According to the poll:
- 81.3% of the Palestinians reject a continuation of the talks in the shadow of expanding settlement activity;
- 46% support continuation of armed operations against Israel;
- 64.3% consider the Israeli separation plan an act of vengeance against the Palestinians;
Support for PNA [Palestinian National Authority] President Yasser Arafat reached 53.4% and support for Fateh rose to 49.5% for the first time.
Support for continuing negotiations has reached its lowest point since the period immediately following the Hebron massacre in February last year.
Of those polled, 46% are in favour of armed Palestinian operations against Israeli targets; 33.5% opposed to the idea; and 20.5% had no opinion on the matter.
Most Palestinians — 79% — agreed that general political elections are the best way to form a council for the self-rule government. Some 77.1% said that they would like to take part in the upcoming elections.
When asked who they would elect if a separate election for the head of the Palestinian National Authority were to take place, 53.4% said they would choose Arafat.
Concerning the rate of unemployment in the Strip and the West Bank, the survey showed a rise from 32% last month to 51% this month. In the Gaza Strip, unemployment stands at 57% and in the West Bank at 48%.
[Reprinted from the Jerusalem Times, PO Box 20185, East Jerusalem via Israel.]