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September 13, 2018 1:08 pm

Poll: One-Third of Palestinians, Half of Gazans, Want to Emigrate; Three-Quarters Say Life Was Better Before Oslo Accords

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

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Masked Palestinians at a demonstration in the West Bank. Photo: Nasser Ishtayeh / Flash90.

A new poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research revealed that one-third of all Palestinians and one-half of Gazans want to emigrate.

“One third of the public says it wants to emigrate due to political, security, and economic conditions,” PSR states. “The percentage rises in the Gaza Strip to half and declines in the West Bank to 22%.”

In another surprising result, PSR found that Palestinians believe life was better before the 1993 Oslo Accords.

“Almost three quarters (73%) said conditions today are worse than those prevailing before Oslo,” says PSR. “13% said conditions today are better; and 10% said conditions today are the same as those before Oslo.”

However, PSR adds the caveat,

This of course does not mean that the public wants the return to Israeli occupation; rather, it seems that public is comparing conditions before and after Oslo in several other dimensions such as the multiplication of the size of settlement enterprise, the current split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and conflict between Fatah and Hamas, the ending of the first intifada by Oslo and the absence today of any similar popular movement to end the Israeli occupation, that on-going security coordination with Israel despite the diminished chances for peace, and public belief that the Palestinian political system is becoming more and more authoritarian and lacking any accountability.

On political issues, results showed widespread dissatisfaction. Some 62% wanted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to resign and 61% were dissatisfied with his conduct in office. In a hypothetical election between Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the candidates would receive nearly the same amount of votes in the West Bank and Haniyeh would win handily in Gaza. The overwhelming favorite to replace Abbas is convicted terrorist Marwan Barghouti, currently serving a life sentence in an Israeli jail for multiple murders.

Regarding the recently-proposed idea of a Palestinian confederation with Jordan, only 29% expressed support for the notion. A confederation that would also include Israel was opposed by 75% of Palestinians.

Opinions on a prospective two-state solution were mixed. In response to the basic idea, 47% supported and 50% opposed it. However, if asked to choose between a two-state and a one-state solution, 53% preferred two states with a Palestinian state described as existing “alongside Israel based on the 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Unsurprisingly, the Palestinians held overwhelmingly negative views of US President Donald Trump. Some 67% opposed any dialogue with the Trump administration. One-half said any peace deal proposed by Trump should be rejected immediately. And 90% believed Trump was biased toward Israel.

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