An opinion poll conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Public Opinion in Bet Sahour near Bethlehem, which polled 500 Palestinians in the West Bank, found that 68.7% support the continuation of the protests that started on September 25 in response to Israeli anti-Oslo peace policies and inflexible stand on Jerusalem.
Fifty-four per cent said that they will abide by Arafat's decision if he calls for ending the protests, while 29.4% said that they would not, and 16.6% were undecided. As to ending the protests to give Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations a chance, 61.4% approved while 25.9% rejected the idea, and 12.7% would not answer.
Eighteen per cent of those polled said the real reason behind the eruption of the current protest was Palestinians' frustration with the stagnant Israeli-Palestinian peace process; 60% said the protests erupted because of anger at the opening of the tunnel near Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem. Almost 91% said they do not believe Israeli PM Netanyahu to be a man of peace. Almost 53% approved resuming military attacks against Israel while 37.4% objected. Sixty-two per cent of those polled are against resuming talks with Israel if it does not change its position on the peace process.
Fifty-two per cent believe that Arafat's position was reinforced in the light of the recent events. As to the performance of Palestinian Security Forces during the events, 84.5% were satisfied while 7.6% described it as unsatisfactory. The poll was conducted on September 28-29.
[Reprinted from October 4 Palestine Report, published by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre, PO Box 25047, East Jerusalem 97300 via Israel, email JMCC@BARAKA.ORG, telephone 972-2-819 777, fax 972-2-829 534.]