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December 13, 2017 4:04 pm

Abbas’ Fiery Rhetoric Toward US and Israel May Be Unconvincing to Palestinian Public, New Poll Suggests

avatar by Ben Cohen

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PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the OIC summit in Istanbul. Photo: Reuters / Osman Orsal.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas faces an uphill struggle in convincing his public that his recent defiance of the US and Israel is genuine, a new opinion poll published on Wednesday indicated.

In rhetoric that was a throwback to the uncompromising statements of the PLO at the height of the Cold War, Abbas urged world leaders to “reconsider their recognition of Israel over its conduct toward Palestinians and its dismissal of decisions by the international community with the backing of the United States” in a speech to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) summit in Istanbul on Wednesday. Abbas also denounced US President Donald Trump’s decision last week to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as a “crime.”

The speech drew instant condemnation from Israeli and Jewish leaders; Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon accused Abbas of “actively thwarting initiatives towards reconciliation,” while David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee, criticized the PA’s “wholesale condemnation” of Trump’s Jerusalem announcement, as well as its refusal to meet with Vice President Mike Pence during his upcoming visit to the region, as “totally unhelpful and needlessly incendiary.”

But the results of a new poll published by the Jerusalem-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) show that most Palestinians believe that Abbas will climb down from his current position.

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The poll, conducted among 1,270 adults in the West Bank and Gaza Strip last week, shows widespread hostility among Palestinians toward the Sunni Arab states as well as Abbas personally.

More than 70 percent of respondents believed that the PA president — who has outstayed his term in office by almost nine years — should resign. Amid emphatic rejection of any American peace initiatives, 72 percent of respondents said they believed Sunni Arab states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia would fall into line behind Trump, and that Abbas would eventually resume contacts with the US.

Overall, the poll painted a bleak picture of Palestinian opinion. “More than three quarters believe that Palestine is no longer the Arabs first cause,” a commentary accompanying the poll observed. “Indeed, more than 70% believe that despite the continuation of Israeli occupation, an alliance already exists between Sunni Arab states and Israel.”

The poll indicated firm support for reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, with Palestinians “firmly opposed to the disarmament of the various armed groups in the Gaza Strip.” Nearly half of respondents expressed support for an “armed intifada,” while a decisive majority backed the prosecution of Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged “war crimes.”

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  • Dani

    Put it in the way you like it (or not), the truth is that Abbas has failed to his people. Sooner or later he will step down.

  • Menachem Ben-Yair

    Abass. Just another kleptomaniac who, even at an advanced stage of dementia, v.d., and age, is unwilling to step aside for another criminal terrorist to take his place. #LOSER

  • graylens

    The very fact that abbas felt obligated to make his threats proves that he failed to meet his obligations under Oslo to normalize relations with Israel, as well as to stop incitement. It also shows that he does NOT seek peace. If he sought peace he would down pay the problem . Also Jerusalem is part of the maximal demands and a stated redline for Israel. If east Jerusalem was so important to muslims why was it so neglected by the Ottomans and the Jordanians. Even Mark Twain commented that Jerusalem was a back water when he visited in the mid 1800’s

  • Reb_Yaakov

    At this time, when they feel lacking in support from many of the Arab countries, it would be an opportune time for Israel to reach out to them and assure them there is a chance for a just peace.

    • I disagree. Now is the time to isolate them. Did u not read the article? It’s the palis themselves who want to kill Israelis. You don’t assure people who want to kill you that there is a chance of peace.