A poll recently published by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) reveals that the majority of Palestinian Arabs believe their government is corrupt, that there is no freedom of press under the Palestinian Authority, and that Arabs living under Palestinian rule cannot freely criticize the Authority without fear of retribution.
The poll was conducted separately among Arabs living in Gaza and Judea and Samaria.
A total of 72.9% answered that there is corruption in PA institutions under the control of President Abu Mazen. 61.6% think there is corruption in PA institutions under the control of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.
Only 23% believe that freedom of the press exists in the West Bank. 15% believe the same freedom exists in the Gaza Strip.
A majority of Palestinians believe that their life under PA and Hamas rule is devoid of any real freedom, yet they offer no alternative and desire no change. Only 27% think that the Palestinian Authority should be dissolved.
The PA is currently facing a financial crisis. To solve it, 29% of Palestinians support forcing early retirement in the public sector, 9% support increasing income tax. Answering the question: “If you think there are other options to solve the financial crisis confronting the PA, which of the following would you choose?” 52% said they supported returning to negotiations with Israel which would serve as a ruse to obtain further donor support from the West.
45% believes that the first most vital Palestinian goal should be to end “Israeli occupation” and build a state, and 32% believe it should be to obtain the right of return. 28% believe the first problem confronting Palestinians today is poverty and unemployment, while 25% think it is the continuation of “Israeli occupation” and 23% think it is the absence of national unity. No one addressed the issue of corruption in the PA territories.
62% said Israel’s long term plans are to extend the borders of the State of Israel to cover all the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and expel its Arab citizens. Another 21% said that Israel plans to annex the entire West Bank and deny the Arabs any rights.
This notion may explain the following opinion expressed by the majority of Palestinians – 39% of all Palestinian Arabs, and 55% of Gazans, support a return to what they call “armed resistance”, i.e., terrorism. 47.5% of all Palestinian Arabs, and 62% of Gazans, support armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel, as opposed to the allegedly legitimate attacks against Israelis outside the Green Line who they believe deserve these attacks for serving as occupiers. Yet, in the context of the rocket war in Gaza and southern Israel, positive evaluation of conditions in the West Bank dropped from 47% to 31%, and positive evaluation of conditions in the Gaza Strip dropped from 26% to 13%.
In general, 44.7% describe conditions of Palestinians in the Palestinian areas in the Gaza Strip these days as “bad”, and 25.2% describe them as “very bad”.
Finally, more than half of Palestinians (51%) believe that Arab revolts will have a positive impact on the Palestinian cause, while only 22% believe that they will have a negative impact.
About the Author: Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.
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