A new poll asked: What percentage of Palestinians would prefer to live under Israeli rule? The London-based Arab News published a special edition to mark Palestinian “Nakba Day” and conducted a survey of the Palestinian population. According to the data, 63% of Palestinians responded that they did not want Hamas and Fatah to represent them. Not only that, the Palestinians are counting on China to salvage the negotiations with Israel. The Palestinian people are fundamentally frustrated, more with their own leadership than with Israel. This, by the way, comes out in all my private conversations with local Palestinians. We’ll be exploring this more in a future article.
Marking the 75th anniversary of the Palestinian “Nakba,” the Arabic newspaper examined the Palestinian conflict with Israel. On this day Israel celebrated its 75th Independence Day, which of course is a national catastrophe for the Palestinians (nakba means “catastrophe” in Arabic). Arab News confronted the Palestinians with various issues related to the conflict with Israel, such as the two-state solution and the Abraham Accords. In addition, the poll looked at the level of trust Palestinians have in their own leadership.
According to the poll, 51% responded that they still believe in the two-state idea as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, the idea is more popular among older Palestinians, where 63% support the two-state solution, compared to just 42% among young Palestinians aged 18-29. Also, today 13% of Palestinians would prefer a federal state under Israeli and Palestinian rule. At the same time, 11% of respondents answered that they would prefer to live under Israeli occupation without obtaining Israeli citizenship.
The Palestinians have little trust in their own leadership. Sixty-three percent of the respondents answered that they do not see Hamas or Fatah as their representatives. And 75% no confidence in their own leadership. Furthermore, only one in four Palestinians still believes in the ability of a Palestinian leadership to negotiate a true peace settlement with Israel. American-Palestinian journalist and analyst Ramzy Baroud stated: “The Palestinians lost faith in their leadership years ago. This lack of trust is largely related to the corruption in the Palestinian Authority, but also to the leadership’s complete failure to achieve a political victory. Only a new peace process could inspire Palestinian confidence.”
And what is the Palestinian street’s opinion of the current Israeli government? Eighty-six percent do not believe that this right-wing Israeli government wants to reach a peace agreement. However, when it comes to the Abraham Accords, Palestinian opinion is divided: 62% of respondents answered that they oppose the accords, and 52% think that the Abraham Accords made Israel’s political position more aggressive towards the Palestinians. Forty-three percent replied that the opposite was the case.
At the end, the survey participants were asked whether they support China mediating between Israel and the Palestinians to reach a peace agreement. This is against the background of the successful mediation that led to the resumption of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. According to the survey, an absolute majority of 80% said they support this and see Beijing as a potential mediator between Jerusalem and Ramallah.
I lament with the Palestinians over the lack of good leadership, because I understand that when the Palestinians are prosperous and happy, we Israelis benefit too. But, as the poll makes clear, that need simply isn’t being met. Of all the Palestinians I know, they all tell me that all their politicians at the top are corrupt, Hamas and Fatah.
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