Nablus based 'Lions Den' militants (Photo: Telegram: JeninQassam)

A survey conducted at the end of March by the Ramallah-based 'Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research' has shed a grim light on the way most residents of the Palestinian Authority feel about recent terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens, along with the obvious decay of the current Palestinian Authority leadership.

According to the institute's “Public Opinion Poll Number 87,” findings show a “rise in the percentage of those who support a return to armed confrontation and intifada. In fact, 70% of [Palestinian] West Bankers expect the eruption of a third armed intifada. Moreover, more than 70% declare support for the latest Huwara shooting attack that killed two 'settlers' [referring to the Yaniv brothers]; two-thirds support the formation of armed groups, such as the Jenin Battalion or the Lions’ Den; and almost all express the view that the Palestinian Authority security services should not arrest or disarm members of these groups.”

In addition, the survey suggests a general lack of respect for the ruling Palestinian Authority and its security services. As The Judean reported yesterday, there is a concern in the PA about a takeover by Hamas, and this is being seen all across Judea and Samara. In al-Najah University, which is run by the state, student election season has seen the rise of Hamas sympathizers, while the ruling Fatah party is being mocked across Palestinian social media channels.

According to the survey, “More than 60% of the West Bankers believe that members of these armed groups will resist with arms any attempt by the PA security services to disarm or arrest them. Public support for armed resistance is further confirmed by overwhelming opposition to the Palestinian participation in the Aqaba meeting. A large majority, standing at 70%, think Israeli countermeasures, which are meant to punish those who commit armed attacks or their families, such as home demolition, expulsion, or the imposition of the death penalty, will only lead to an increase in the intensity of such attacks.” The Aqaba meetings were organized by Egypt and the United States and held in the Jordanian coastal city, the premise of the conference was to reignite the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

While the PA under the leadership of aging Mahmoud Abbas remains intact, its support has dwindled in recent years to the point where most Palestinians have been convinced that its collapse is in the best interest of their national ambitions. “When asked to define the interest of the Palestinian people regarding the PA, its continued existence or its collapse or dissolution, a majority of 52% says the Palestinian people’s interest lies in the collapse or dissolution of the PA while 42% define the continued existence of the PA as a Palestinian interest.”

A number of other topics were covered in the survey, such as the lack of confidence most Palestinians have in any future presidential elections where 68% surveyed support new elections but 69% do not expect the PA to hold them anytime soon. In addition, Palestinians do not believe that a 2-state solution is a viable option anymore, and despite the rise of Hamas in Judea and Samaria, 71% believe the organization is corrupt but 82% believe corruption exists in the Palestinian Authority.

One thing that stood out is the Palestinians in Gaza and 'The West Bank' have little faith in either organization to help achieve their nationalistic dreams, if there were elections for Parliament held today, Hamas would receive 33% and the ruling Fatah would edge them out at 35%. 44% of those surveyed "think Hamas and Fatah do not deserve to represent and lead the Palestinian people; 26% think Hamas deserve to represent and lead the Palestinians and 24% think Fatah deserves to do so."

Lastly, when it comes to building a Palestinian State, the nation seems to be headed toward violence. According to the survey, 54% believe that armed resistance is the direction needed to gain their statehood, while 23% believe 'poplar resistance' or civil disruptions are the way to go. Only 18% of Palestinians believe diplomacy and negotiations will bring about the creation of a Palestinian State. 

According to their website, the Palestinian Center for Policy & Survey Research "is an independent nonprofit institution and think tank of policy analysis and academic research. PSR was founded with the goal of advancing scholarship and knowledge on immediate issues of concern to Palestinians in three areas: domestic politics and government, strategic analysis and foreign policy, and public opinion polls and survey research."


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