Sunday, January 28, 2007

NEWS: Palestinian polls show majority feel they are not safe, By Mohammed Mar'i

The Palestinian Internal Crisis: 86.9% of Palestinians aren't safe, 53.5% see it a civil war
By Mohammed Mar'i
(Arab American Media Services. Permission granted to republish.)

(Ramallah, Occupied Palestine)-- A recent Palestinian public opinion poll shown that the majority of Palestinian people are concerned with the deteriorated internal security and bloody confrontations between Fateh and Hamas due to the failure of forming a national unity government. Whereas ð86.9 % of respondents, of the 25th Palestinian Public Opinion Poll conducted by the Center for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies at An-Najah National University during the period from January 22-24, 2006, did not feel safe neither for themselves nor for their families and properties under the present circumstances, 53.5 % of respondents believed that Palestinians have entered in a civil war after the armed confrontations between Fateh and Hamas.

According to the Poll that included 1360 persons from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, 71.8% of respondents said that their economic situation under the current circumstances is deteriorating and 74.5 % of respondents said that the local security conditions deteriorated .

Regarding Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared intention to conduct early Presidential and Legislative elections after the wavering of the negotiations on the formation of a unity government, 52 %of respondents supported Abass' call for early Presidential and Legislative elections if no compromise is reached towards the formation of a unity Palestinian government while 517 %of respondents rejected Hamas' position in refusing conducting early Presidential and Legislative elections if no compromise is reached towards the formation of a new Palestinian government .

The Palestinians consider that a national unity government may rescue them from the current crisis whether the brutal confrontations between the rivals Fateh and Hamas or the international financial siege. 54.4 %of respondents saw that a unity government is the proper form of government that can manage Palestinian affairs, 18.1% saw that it is an independent national technocrat government, 8.1% saw that it is a Hamas government and 15.3% saw that it is a Fateh government . 23.7% of respondents supported the idea that the future government should be a government of services without having anything to do with the political affairs . 71.3 % of respondents saw that an agreement to form a national unity government, if achieved, will relieve the Palestinian People from the political and financial siege imposed on them . 16.6 %of respondents saw that the delay in the formation of a unity government is related to the disagreement on the political agenda of the government; 29.6% saw that it is related to the disagreement on the distribution of portfolios . 46 %of respondents supported the idea that the responsibilities of negotiations with Israel should be given to the PLO . 77.6% of respondents supported the reformation of the PLO so that it would include all nonmember Palestinian factions.

If early Palestinian presidential and legislative elections is conducted, 29 % of respondents said that they will vote for a Fateh candidate if new Presidential elections are conducted; 19% said they will vote for a Hamas candidate, while 29.5 % of respondents said that they will vote for Fateh candidates if new Legislative elections are conducted; 19.3% said they will vote for Hamas candidates.

Hamas recognition of Israel is an international condition to deal with a Hamas led government and to leave the financial siege. 49.5% of respondents believed that Khalid Mishal's declaration that 'Israel is a reality' is a preface to the recognition of Israel by Hamas . 40.5 % of respondents considered the proposal submitted to the Palestinian Prime Minister's Advisor Ahmed Yousif by some European countries and personalities as a "new Oslo deal ".

Concerning the attitudes of Palestinians towards methods of resistance against Israel, 56.6% of respondents supported armed operations inside Israel; while 37.4% rejected them. 64.2% of respondents supported concentrating armed operations within the borders of the 1967 occupied territories . 47.4 % of respondents rejected firing rockets at Israeli targets from the Gaza Strip . 47.1% of respondents said that firing rockets against Israeli targets from the Gaza Strip hurts the Palestinian cause; 30.1% said it serves the Palestinian cause positively . 27.2 % of respondents said the form of struggle that best serves the Palestinian cause is the armed struggle .

The poll also concentrated on the external intervention and pressure exerted on Abbas and Hamas to resolve the internal crisis. 75% of respondents said that kidnapping foreign journalists and sympathizers with Palestinians hurts the Palestinian cause . 77.3 % of respondents said that there is some outside intervention in the Palestinian decision; 6.5% said that it is an Arab intervention, 22.5% said that it is a foreign one, 68.9% said that it is both foreign and Arab, and 72.1% said that this intervention is a negative one . 9.5% of respondents believed that the last visit of US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to the Middle East achieved some progress in pushing forward the peace process and the implementation of the Road Map; 80.7% believed the contrary. 12.9% of respondents believed that the US and Israeli declarations in support of President Mahmoud Abbas reinforce the Palestinian people's trust in his policy; 50.1% believed that such declarations reduce people's trust .

(Mohammed Mar'i is a freelance Palestinian journalist based in Ramallah, Occupied Palestine. He can be reached at