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One-Third of PA Arabs Thinking about Emigrating

A new survey reveals that 31 percent of Arabs in the PA think about living permanently in another country, and a jailed terrorist and the Hamas leader are the favorites to be PA president.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 10/31/2005, 1:51 PM / Last Update: 10/31/2005, 3:00 PM

The large number of those contemplating emigration is reflected by concern for security, revealed in the newly released Palestinian Center for Public Opinion poll by Dr. Nabil Kukali. Almost two-thirds of the people (64.8 percent) are worried about their personal safety.

Dissatisfaction with the current PA administration was registered with 61.5 percent of the respondents favoring a new cabinet, currently headed by Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala), who serves as president of the PA. The most popular person to replace him is Marwan Barghouti, who is serving multiple terms of life imprisonment for terrorist attacks

He was commander of the Fatah and Tanzim terrorist gangs when arrested in April 2002, and Barghouti was convicted two years later on five counts of murder, one of the victims being a Greek Orthodox monk.

The second most popular candidate is the leader of the Hamas terrorist movement, Mahmoud al-Zahar. Qureia trailed the list with support of only 5.4 percent.

The PA legislative council recently passed a no-confidence vote, which technically forced Abbas to appoint a new president, but no action has been taken.

The PA has scheduled elections in January for its legislative assembly. It postponed them this past summer following fears that the Hamas terrorist organization would win more than one-third of the seats.

Dr. Kukali said his latest poll shows that 25.6 percent of the participants support Hamas and that 37.6 percent back Abbas' Fatah party. Support for the Islamic Jihad terrorist group jumped from three percent in June to 5.2 percent. The changes in numbers for Fatah and Hamas were marginal.

He also reported that an overwhelming majority (81.4 percent) wants an end to the anarchy and violence that has plagued the PA, but a similar majority also supports getting rid of the heads of all security departments.

The survey included men and women over the age of 18 from villages and cities and was conducted between in mid-October, according to Dr. Kukali.