Arabs Support Arms for Terrorists

Most Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha) back terrorists retaining their weapons, according to a poll published Friday by the Arab-backed Jerusalem Media and Communication Center.

, | updated: 02:39

The survey showed that 55% of the respondents favor terrorists holding on to their arms, and 33% want the weapons taken away from them.

The issue of disarming terrorists continues to be a stumbling block to further Israeli concessions and may be an obstacle for Abu Mazen when he visits President George W. Bush May 26. The PA announced on Friday the new date for the on again-off again visit.

Abu Mazen this past week claimed his security forces were taking weapons away from terrorists, but a leading Israeli newspaper published proved the opposite by publishing pictures of their marching in public with their guns.

Israel has stated it will not withdraw soldiers from more urban centers until the PA curtails terror, starting with disarming terrorists. Israel already has turned over to the PA full responsibility for security in Jericho and Tulkarm.

The poll on Friday also revealed that only 53% of Yesha Arabs think that Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria will help the peace process. The poll showed continuing backing for the Fatah party, which dominates the Palestinian Authority (PA), but Hamas retained its relative support. Fatah received 36% support and Hamas received 20% in the survey, whose report did not comment on the responses of the other 44 per cent.