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Far Left and Far Right Fanatics: Listen to the Palestinian People

I will leave it to you to pick over the latest IPI Poll of Palestinian public opinion.

In short, however:

- Enough of this crap about a “bi national state” or handing Gaza over to the Egyptians and the West Bank over to the Jordanians:

A clear majority of Palestinians – 55% – favor a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, separate from Israel, according to the survey. Just 11% favored either of the other alternatives under discussion, a bi-national state of Palestinians and Israelis or a confederation with neighboring Jordan and Egypt.

- Two states, now:

There was also majority support among Palestinians for a two-state peace plan. Almost two-thirds (64%) preferred the plan, based on proposals from post-Camp David negotiations at Taba in 2001 and informal Israeli-Palestinian talks in Geneva in 2003, while just 17% preferred the status quo.

- recognise Israel, compensate refugees:

A similar proportion of Palestinians favors the Arab Peace Initiative, which offers Israel full recognition from 22 Arab states in return for Israel withdrawing to its 1967 borders and agreeing to a “just settlement” of the issue of Palestinian refugees. The researchers found that presenting the two-state plan as a way to implement the Arab Peace Initiative was a key to support, since the Palestinians see the UN resolutions it follows and its Arab sponsorship as guarantees of fairness.

The poll shows that Palestinian views have shifted considerably since 2000 when polling after Camp David showed that the Palestinian street also opposed the peace proposals that its leaders had refused to accept. Now, the Palestinian public has shifted from rejection to acceptance of the overall package and of provisions for Israeli withdrawal, Palestinian demilitarization, and mutual recognition.

- Stop cheerleading for Hamas. You’re pissing off most Palestinians:

”The poll found that Palestinian Authority President Abbas has a 55% job approval rating, while his likely challenger, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, languishes at 32%. (Haniyeh and Hamas have ruled the Gaza Strip, the small territory between Israel and Egypt, since seizing it in a brief 2007 conflict with Fatah that led Abbas to fire Haniyeh as Prime Minster.)

The poll gave Fatah 45% of the parliamentary vote and 24% to Hamas, although a Fatah legislative council majority would depend on the choices of swing voters and the electoral system used. It also found that Abbas would defeat Haniyeh in a head-to-head contest across Palestine, though with a fairly narrow majority of 52%.

Respondents said the biggest concerns of Palestinians are the political divisions between Fatah and Hamas and the West Bank, still under Abbas’ control, and Gaza. Next came the economy, insecurity and crime, Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, and the Israeli blockade of Gaza since the Hamas takeover. Abbas and Fatah bested Haniyeh and Hamas on most key issues in the poll, including peace-making, reunifying Gaza with the West Bank , and the economy. Haniyeh and Hamas, who refuse to recognize Israel, excelled only on resistance to Israel.

- Let’s have some gestures from Israel:

The main gestures under discussion in Washington and Jerusalem – a settlement freeze and reducing checkpoints – are the least important to Palestinians of six major confidence-building measures under consideration. Palestinians are much more interested in evacuation of Israeli settlements/outposts (28%) and prisoner releases by Israel (27%). Next came further Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank (13%) and easing border crossings, particularly in isolated Gaza (11%).

On the basis of this poll, I think you could fairly say that Harry’s Place is more of a pro-Palestinian blog – and certainly more in tune with the majority of Palestinians aspirations – that the myriad of Hamas cheerleaders on the far Left and far Right of British politics.