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Neither Fatah nor Hamas: Arab News/YouGov poll shows Palestinians want nothing to do with their leadership

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LONDON: A new Arab News/UGov poll has identified a widespread sense of frustration among many Palestinians who feel trapped between an Israeli government they believe has no interest in making peace. and a Palestinian leadership not confident of successfully negotiating an agreement with Israel.

“Prospects, Peace and Politics: Where Do the Palestinians Stand?” The survey titled 75th anniversary of Nakba was published.

Unsurprisingly, the poll finds that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians – 86 percent of the 693 who expressed a view – believe the current Israeli government is not serious about signing a peace deal, a prospect only about 14 percent are optimistic.

Such suspicions have been fueled by the policies of the right-wing governments of Benjamin Netanyahu, who has served four separate terms in office for 15 years since 1996 as prime minister.

Following the formation in December 2022 of the latest Israeli coalition government, widely regarded as the most right-wing in the country, Netanyahu’s Likud party announced plans to “progress and develop settlements in all parts of Israel”. By doing this, he also troubled his American allies. Galilee, the Negev Desert, the Golan Heights, and Judea and Samaria (West Bank).

Left-leaning Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, described the new government as “the most extreme right-wing, racist, homophobic and godless coalition in Israel’s history” – an impression Finance Minister Bezal Smotrich dispelled in a speech in March. In which he declared: “There is no such thing as a Palestinian state. There is no Palestinian history.

In January this year, protests broke out across Israel against the coalition’s plans to reform the judiciary, widely seen as a move designed to end judicial review of government policies.

Such is the skepticism among Palestinians about Israeli intentions that even in the unlikely event of Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing regime being replaced by a left-wing government, 66 percent still see no hope for peace.

The last time the left had any real influence on Israeli politics was during the heyday of the Meretz party, which had 12 seats between 1992 and 1996 and was the third largest party in the Knesset. Meretz won no seats in Israel’s 2022 elections.

Regardless, surveys show that there is little trust among Palestinians in any Israeli government, be it right or left. Only 15 percent believe a right-wing government is likely to sign a peace deal, rising to only 19 percent in the case of any future left-wing administration.

More surprisingly, perhaps, 63 percent of Palestinians feel unenthusiastic by either Hamas or Fatah, the two factions attracting the trust of only 11 percent and 19 percent, respectively.

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Palestinians carry the body of Shadi al-Shurafa, who was killed by Israeli army fire on July 27, and his body is returned today, August 10, 2021, during a funeral procession in the village of Beita in the occupied West Bank. (AFP/File photo)

US-Palestinian journalist, author and media consultant Ramzi Baroud told Arab News that the results of its YouGov poll “are in line with the ground reality. In fact, the lack of leadership on the part of the Palestinian Authority, combined with factional division, has led Palestinians to have a different set of values ​​and a different kind of leadership.

The slow formation of this new leadership, “emerging at a grassroots community level among Palestinian prisoners throughout occupied Palestine and Israel,” “completely bypassing the Palestinian Authority and the factional nature of the various Palestinian political groups” Had been.”

This process, he believes, will “eventually lead to a centralized leadership that reflects growing unity among Palestinians at a popular level.”

In the meantime, he added, “Despite the lack of truly representative leadership, the Palestinian people continue to communicate, time and again, that only an end to the Israeli occupation and dismantling of the apartheid regime is the only process to achieve true peace and justice.” may begin.” in Palestine.

Hamas, which was established in 1987 after the First Intifada, holds a majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council, the Palestinian National Authority’s legislature, but maintains a military wing and has been designated a terrorist organization by the US and some other states, including Britain included.

Fatah is currently the second largest party in the Palestinian Legislative Council. Founded in 1959 by Yasser Arafat and others as the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, Fatah had a long history of terrorism, but abandoned violence in the late 1980s in favor of pursuing a diplomatic path towards a two-state solution Abandoned.

The survey shows that only 25 percent of Palestinians believe that the current Palestinian leadership has been able to successfully negotiate a peace deal with Israel. A whopping 75 percent is not.

“Palestinians lost faith in their leadership years ago,” Baroud said.

“This lack of trust is intrinsically linked to the endemic corruption of the PA, but also to the total failure of the current Palestinian leadership to achieve a meaningful political victory that could potentially renew the Palestinian people’s faith in the so-called peace process.” Might.”

In a candid interview with Al Arabiya in 2020, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s former ambassador to the US, expressed sadness over the failure of the Palestinian leadership to find a path to peace for many years. He was responding to the outright rejection by Palestinian leaders of the declaration of cooperation between the US, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which one Palestinian official described as a “poisonous stab in the back and an attempt to pacify the Palestinian people”. did. Get international validity.

This, Prince Bandar said, “was really painful to hear. This low level of discourse is not what we expect from officials who want to garner global support for their cause, and with this reprehensible discourse the leadership of the Gulf countries His crime against is completely unacceptable.

He said, “It is not surprising to see how quickly these leaders use words like ‘treason’, ‘betrayal’ and ‘stabbing in the back’ as these are their ways of dealing with each other.

“Efforts over the years have been better focused on protecting the Palestinian cause, peace initiatives and the rights of the Palestinian people to reach a point where all this much plunder can finally see the light – and when I say robbed, I mean Israeli and Palestinian leaders alike.

When asked for his thoughts on why all previous peace talks and initiatives have failed, Israel’s policy of intimidation, settlement and occupation emerges as the number one alleged reason, closely followed by US bias towards Israel. Is.

This bias was especially evident during the presidency of Donald Trump. In November 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US no longer considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal, reversing the position held by the US since the legal ruling in 1978 by the State Department.

However, in February this year, the current US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, issued a statement condemning Israel’s moves to accelerate its illegal settlement program. The US, he said, was “deeply troubled by Israel’s decision yesterday to reportedly begin the process of moving approximately 10,000 settlement units and retroactively legalizing nine outposts in the West Bank that were previously illegal under Israeli law.” “

He added: “We strongly oppose such unilateral measures that escalate tensions and undermine prospects for a negotiated two-state solution.”

Despite a lack of confidence in Hamas and Fatah, those who voted were not inclined to place blame for the failure of peace talks on the activities of Palestinian armed militias.

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