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Support for Two States Waning

A poll conducted recently among Palestinian Authority Arabs showed that support for a “two state solution” is waning. Trust in PA at a low.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 4/2/2009, 9:35 PM

A poll conducted recently among Palestinian Authority Arabs showed that support for a “two state solution” is waning. Only one-third believe their conflict with Israel can be resolved through the creation of a PA state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

The poll was conducted  by the Norwegian research firm Fafo.

The overwhelming majority of PA Arabs – more than 90 percent – want Fatah and Hamas to rule the PA as a joint entity. More than 75 percent want the Islamist Hamas to be included in the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), an umbrella group traditionally dominated by Fatah.

Ninety percent believe the current relative calm in Gaza will not last.

The poll showed the Fatah-led PA in Judea and Samaria lagging slightly behind its Hamas rivals in Gaza, with just 25 percent support to Hamas's 32 percent. Almost one-third of those questioned said neither of the two authorities is legitimate.

Trust for UN over PA
Fafo also found that more than twice as many PA Arabs trust the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) than trust the PA. Sixty-six percent said they trust UNRWA, while only 24 percent said they trust PA political factions.

One-third of PA Arabs polled by Fafo said they trust the PA armed forces. Only 13 percent expressed confidence in the International Quartet, a group of nations supporting Israel-PA negotiations.

Internal Poll Shows Distrust
An internal PA poll showed public distrust for PA institutions as well. The poll, which was published in PA media, showed that more than 60 percent of PA Arabs were unfamiliar with PA law, and only 42 percent said they would go to a PA court if they needed legal intervention. Forty percent would choose a clan arbitrator instead.

Just over 40 percent said they feel they are personally secure. Of those who reported feeling insecure, 42 percent said they feared Israel while 31 percent said they feared internal violence. Fear of internal violence was more than three times as common in Gaza, where fighting between Fatah and Hamas and Hamas and other factions has left hundreds dead and over 1,000 wounded.

Residents of Gaza were also more pessimistic regarding personal freedom. Almost half of Gaza respondents said they had no free press, while under 30 percent of respondents in Judea and Samaria said the same. Forty-five percent in Judea, Samaria and Gaza said they had no freedom of speech.