Don Futterman, whom I know and with whom I worked on the Begin Center’s “Junior Knesset” project more than a decade ago, is program director for Israel for the Moriah Fund, a private American foundation working to promote social justice and peace in Israel.
Futterman wrote this in an article in Haaretz:
The majority of West Bank Palestinians polled today, according to Dr. Shikaki, favor a peaceful resolution to the conflict. When surveyed about which democracy they admire, Palestinians rank Israel first, above the United States, and place the Palestinian Authority last. Such admiration bespeaks the mixed and complicated feelings toward Israel that would naturally result from years of occupation and close proximity, not monolithic hatred. Few Israeli Jews hear these voices, perhaps because peaceful Palestinians threaten our government’s narrative more than violent ones.
Let’s take a look at some polls on the question of “violence”:
Q15. In general, what is the best method to achieve the Palestinian people’s goals of ending the occupation and establishing a state? Total 1200 Palestinian Arabs questioned. 750 in Judea & Samaria, 450 in Gaza 450 Peaceful negotiations ALL: 32.3%, J&S: 35.2%, Gaza: 27.6 % Armed resistance (armed Intifada) ALL: 29.3%, J&S: 22.3%, Gaza: 41.1% Non-violent resistance (peaceful Popular Intifada) ALL: 27.1%, J&S: 29.5%, 23.1% Other ALL: 2.5%, J&S: 1.7%, Gaza:3.6% I don’t know or No answer ALL: 8.8%, J&S 11.3%, 4.6% Note that above, “peaceful negotiation” does not necessarily negate, and may be in tandem with “armed resistance” so the “majority” is quite unclear.
And in this next one, “armed resistance” isn’t included so how can it be measured as opposed to non-violence?
Q16. In your opinion, as an individual, which of the following options is most beneficial to improve the situation of the Palestinian people? 1200 Total Palestinian Arabs, 750 in Judea and Samaria, 450 in Gaza.
Joining a Palestinian political party ALL: 21.8%, J&S: 18.3%, Gaza: 27.6 % Becoming involved in a non-violent movement or organization (non-affiliated to a political party) (e.g. popular committee against the wall)ALL: 22.7%, J&S: 20.9%, Gaza: 25.6% Taking part in regular non-violent demonstrations against the Israeli occupation ALL: 34.1%, J&S: 33.9%, Gaza: 34.4% I don’t know ALL: 16.9%, J&S: 21.1%, Gaza: 10.0%, No answer ALL: 4.5%, J&S: 5.8%, Gaza: 2.4% In a December 2012 poll, these results were recorded:
Hamas gains in strength among the Palestinian public. If new presidential elections were held in the PA, Haniyeh would win with 48% of the vote of those participating, to Abbas’s 45%. Three months ago, Abbas received the support of 51% and Haniyeh 40%. The percentage of vote for Haniyeh is the highest since Hamas’s electoral victory in 2006.
In legislative elections, 35% of those who would participate say they would vote for Hamas and 36% for Fatah. These results indicate a sharp increase in Hamas popularity compared to our September results when it stood at 28%; Hamas is not non-violent.
Yesterday (March 23, 2014), we heard from Haniyah:
“Stop negotiating with the enemy,” he told the PA. “We will not recognise Israel.”Mushir al-Masri, a top Hamas leader, told the crowd that the group opposes peace talks with Israel and is always prepared for battle. “Our fingers are on the trigger to defend our people,” said al-Masri.
and thousands of Hamas supporters who attended a major rally in Gaza City [yesterday] that was held under the motto, “Loyalty and Persistence on the Path of the Martyrs” heard Haniyah say:
that the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the resistance movement Hamas, is using tunnels as a new strategy in resisting Israel. “Palestinian resistance fighters will face the Israeli occupation both from on the ground and beneath it until they liberate Palestine,” Haniyeh told thousands of Gaza residents who rallied to mark the 10th anniversary of the assassination of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
1. With regards to rebuilding confidence in the peace process please indicate which of the following options you consider to be ‘Essential’, ‘Desirable’, ’Acceptable’, ‘Tolerable’ or ‘Unacceptable’: Resist occupation through violence to achieve a state: Essential 36.7%; Desirable 18.7%; Acceptable 16.8%; Tolerable 14.0%; Unacceptable 13.7% In 2008
A new poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians support the attack this month on a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem that killed eight young men, most of them teenagers, an indication of the alarming level of Israeli-Palestinian tension in recent weeks.
The survey also shows unprecedented support for the shooting of rockets on Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip and for the end of the peace negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli leaders.
The pollster, Khalil Shikaki, said he was shocked because the survey, taken last week, showed greater support for violence than any other he had conducted over the past 15 years in the Palestinian areas. Never before, he said, had a majority favored an end to negotiations or the shooting of rockets at Israel. In other words, Futterman is taking refuge in a one-time flash-in-the-pan poll, one which itself is unclear about the question and surely does not point to a conclusive trend, whereas the recent history is consistent in favor of terror and violence.