Although the Palestinian Authority has been one of the greatest beneficiaries – perhaps the greatest beneficiary – of the UN's largesse, PA Arabs don't care for the United Nations; in fact, in a poll released this week by the Gallup organization of how much people around the world liked or disliked the UN, the PA came in second among populations who most dislike the world body, barely missing first place.
The poll was conducted in 126 countries around the world, with representative samplings of populations asked if they “approve or disapprove of the job performance of the leadership of the United Nations,” as an indication of what people think about the world body.
While the vast majority of PA residents benefit from dozens of UN projects – and are the sole recipients of aid from one of the UN's biggest aid agencies, UNWRA – only 30 percent of PA Arabs said they approved of the world body, while 60 percent said they disapproved. Only in Qatar – where 15 percent approved and 61percent disapproved – is the UN held in more contempt. Four other Arab countries – Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia – round out the top half-dozen population groups that most disapprove of the UN.
Israelis, not surprisingly, are not big fans of the UN either; 47percent disapprove of the world body, while 33 percent approve. Neither are Americans; in the United States, 42 percent approve of the UN's activities, while 48 percent disapprove. The United States provides the lion's share of the UN's operating budget, and its headquarters are located on a prime piece of Manhattan real estate – for which the organization pays no real estate tax – but is perceived by many Americans to take stances hostile to the interests of the country. Of course, the Israeli attitude is explained by the world body's consistent anti-Israel stance on almost every issue, experts and diplomats said.
Depsite these findings, the UN is generally perceived as a positive force; more people approved than disapproved of the world body in 106 of 126 countries and territories where the question was asked. The highest approval ratings were in western Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, the UN's ten highest approval ratings were in African countries, with Sierra Leone residents the most approving, followed by residents of Mozambique, Uganda, Malawi, Liberia, and others in central and southern Africa. Among European countries, residents of Norway, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, and the Netherlands were the biggest “fans” of the UN.