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March 28, 2014 1:36 pm
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Poll: Despite Threats, Palestinian Authority Will Extend Peace Talks Deadline

avatar by Gidon Ben-Zvi

Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: World Economic Forum.

Seventy-five percent of Palestinian Arabs believe Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will agree to extend the ongoing peace talks with Israel after a self imposed nine-month deadline expires in late April, according to a new public opinion poll cited by Israel’s Ma’ariv.

The survey, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, covered 1,200 Palestinian Arabs and has a margin of error of 3 percent. Fifty-five percent of respondents opposed an extension of the peace talks while 42 percent supported such a move, the poll, published on Monday, showed.

A total of 62 percent of Palestinian Arabs would likewise oppose Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposed framework agreement if it includes a request to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The survey’s findings seem to contradict recent statements by PA officials who threatened to end negotiations with Israel if a fourth scheduled release of convicted Palestinian Arab prisoners does not take place.

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PA representatives said they will turn to international institutions such as the United Nations with a plea for independence instead of speaking directly with Israel should Jerusalem renege on its alleged promise to set the prisoners free.

Regarding the personal popularity of the current PA president, the survey found that if presidential elections were held today, Abbas would receive 53 percent of the vote while Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh would get 41 percent.

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