Photo Credit: Wall in Palestine
Painting by UK artist Banksy on a building wall in Bethlehem

A public opinion poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center (JMCC) in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung showed PA and Gaza Arabs are pessimistic about the US role in the peace process. A 79.3% majority of respondents said President Trump was not serious in his call for a resumption of the peace process while 11.9% said he was serious. 42.9% said there was a decline in US dealings with the Middle East peace process, while 42.8% said there had been no change compared with previous US Administrations.

Nevertheless, 54% of respondents advised the Palestinian leadership to agree to a resumption of negotiations should Trump invited them, on the condition that settlement construction is halted. 30.6% said the Palestinian leadership should not participate.

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The survey was conducted in the PA and the Gaza Strip August 13 to 21, with a random sample of 1,199 people over the age of 18 who were interviewed face-to-face, 749 from the PA, 450 from the Gaza Strip.

The largest percentage of Arabs, 54.2%, still support in principle the resumption of negotiations with Israel, compared with 41.9%, who oppose it. 35.6% said the peace process was dead and could not be resurrected, and 39.6% said the peace process was facing difficult conditions with an uncertain future. Only 19.7% said the peace process was still alive and could be resumed.

So, even though almost 55% of respondents believe the peace process should be resumed, some 80% believe it is dead.

The new poll offers good news: the percentage of those who support the resumption of terror operations against Israeli targets declined to 28.6%, compared with 42.7% in October 2014 and 50.9% in December 2012. Something Israel is doing is working, apparently.

What would life be like after the death of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas? The survey found that should general elections be held without Abbas, the largest percentage of respondents – 26.1%, would vote for Marwan Barghouthi, that’s 25.8% in the PA and 26.7 % in Gaza. 12.1% would vote for Ismail Haniyeh – 9.3% in the PA and 16.7% in Gaza. Another 7.7 % would vote for Mohamad Dahlan – 1.5% in the PA and 18% in Gaza.

However, if presidential elections were held in which only Marwan Barghouthi and Ismail Haniyeh ran for office, 50.2%, said they would vote for Marwan Barghouthi while only 19.5% would vote for Haniyeh.

Moreover, if only Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh ran, 34.8% said they would vote for Abbas, while 27.0% would vote for Haniyeh.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, 40.6% of respondents said Britain bears responsibility for the current situation to a large extent, while19.6% said it bore responsibility to some extent and 30.4% who said it did not bear any responsibility at all.

One wonders how the average Israeli would rate the influence of the Balfour Declaration on the fate of the Zionist enterprise. We suspect many Israelis would not be familiar with either.

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