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PA Arabs Oppose Armed Struggle, Disappointed at Peace Process

New poll conducted among PA Arabs finds they oppose the armed struggle against Israel but disappointed at the peace process.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/28/2011, 7:15 AM

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Flash 90

A new poll conducted among Palestinian Authority Arabs finds that most do not support an armed struggle against Israel, but that at the same time most are not encouraged by the peace process.

The poll was conducted by a PA-based research institute from east Jerusalem and its results were published on Sunday by Israel’s Channel 10 News. It surveyed 1,200 PA Arabs in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Gaza.

According to the poll, 85.6% of respondents said that the recent deal between Israel and Hamas to free Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,027 terrorists was a good move, compared with only 4.1% who thought the move was not a good one. However, the poll found that support for Hamas is still low, despite the fact that the terror group was the party that brought about the Shalit deal. 39% of respondents said they trust the Fatah movement, while only 18.6% said that they place their trust in Hamas. In addition, 25.5% said that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is their preferred candidate to head the PA, compared with 14% who claimed that they prefer Hamas’ prime minister Ismail Haniyeh.

The poll also focused on the PA’s recent unilateral statehood bid in the United Nations, with 52% of respondents claiming that they were satisfied with the move, while 15% said they were not happy with it. The poll found that the UN move has also strengthened support in Abbas’ Fatah movement. 46% of respondents said that UN bid has led them to support Fatah even more, while 12% claimed that the move caused a negative impact on their attitude toward Fatah.

The respondents also expressed their dissatisfaction with the peace process between Israel and the PA, and that dissatisfaction was mostly directed at the Quartet. According to the poll, 42% of respondents said that the Quartet is playing a negative role in the peace process and only 16% responded that the Quartet’s role is positive. 63% of respondents said they feel the Quartet is taking a pro-Israeli stance and 51% expressed their satisfaction with the PA leadership’s decision not to conduct negotiations with Israel.

The poll also looked at opinions about the United States’ role in the peace process, and only 5% of respondents said that U.S. President Barack Obama’s actions contribute to the peace process in the region.

Finally, respondents were asked whether they support an armed struggle against Israel. 56% of respondents said they oppose a return to an armed struggle against Israel, compared with 29% who supported an armed struggle. In addition, 41% of respondents felt that the continued rocket fire from Gaza into Israel is bad for the PA and its people.