A newly published public opinion poll shows that young Palestinian Arabs think their corruption-ridden government is doing just fine, but would prefer to see it transformed into an Islamic dictatorship.
Conducted by the Palestinian Center for Research and Cultural Dialogue, the poll asked 1,000 Palestinian Arabs between the ages of 18 and 30 to rate the performance of the Palestinian democracy, such as it is. Seventy-one percent evaluated Palestinian democracy as either “good” or “average,” and an equal number said they were satisfied with the human rights situation in Palestinian-controlled areas.
Most of the liberal Israeli and international media stopped there with their coverage. What they left out is the following:
- 62 percent of Palestinian youth believe bribery and corruption are prevalent in their society and see those practices as an effective way of getting what they want;
- Less than half (47.2 percent) said they want the Palestinian Authority to remain a democracy;
- 45.3 percent said they want the Palestinian Authority to become an Islamic regime of one form or another;
- 73 percent said that whatever form the Palestinian government takes, it should be either wholly or partially ruled by Sharia Law. Only 22.9 percent voted for a purely civil law;
- The nation chosen as the best ally to the Palestinians with 18.7 percent of the vote was Iran. Only 2.3 percent said the US is the Palestinians’ best ally;
- 59 percent said they are in favor of Iran possessing nuclear weapons;
- A 34.7 percent plurality want to see all of Israel, Judea, Samaria and Gaza become an Islamic state.
Considering the age range of the respondents, the survey’s results are further evidence that the Palestinian Authority has utterly failed to honor its commitment to educate its population for peaceful coexistence with Israel and to become a free, civil and openly democratic society. Instead, the ill-advised “Oslo” peace process has actually created an increase in the number of young Palestinian Arabs who are becoming radicalized Muslims.
The poll also gives the lie to Western efforts to paint the Palestinians as a progressive society not easily swayed by populist religious rhetoric.
Most Israelis feel that a true and lasting peace is simply not achievable any time soon. They also have long viewed with suspicion the motives and integrity of the international community as a peace broker. The results of this poll again show why that is the case.