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December PSR poll shows a vast majority of Palestinians don’t believe in Obama

December 19, 2016

The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) released a new Palestine public opinion poll several days ago.(1) The poll was conducted on December 8-10 (1270 adults, margin of error 3%). Among other things, the poll shows a vast majority of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip/West Bank (83%) believe the AmeriKKKan war criminal, invader and obstructionist in chief, outgoing president Barack Obama, didn’t “make serious efforts to resolve the [Palestinian-Israeli conflict].”

For some reason it appeared some Press TV staff didn’t read the poll press release themselves and instead relied on an AP report.(2) The article on the PressTV site contains, “A recent survey shows two thirds of Palestinian people do not believe in the so-called two-state solution to the conflict with the Israeli regime. / According to the poll . . . 65 percent of Palestinians have lost their faith in such a solution, up from 56 percent in September, the Associated Press Reported.” Some of the language seems to be a regurgitation of the AP article, which also doesn’t mention what PSR’s press release said about Palestinian opinion on Obama and the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Perhaps some Press TV staff would benefit from guidance from anti-amerikan hardliners in Iran.

The word choice there with “believe” and “faith” is significant, though. One can debate “viability” of the two-state solution all day long. It’s another thing to actively or actually oppose it.

The same PressTV article admits, “Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds, and the besieged Gaza Strip and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.”

So it seems one could doubt the viability of the two-state solution, which the United States opposes in actuality, but support it with a more realistic or less idolatrous approach, not “faith.” That’s fine. Whether one is atheist or Jewish/Muslim, there shouldn’t be an idolatrous attitude toward any humyn-made idea. That includes various strategic or political proposals, besides two-state solution proposals with an emphasis on non-amerikan and multilateral diplomacy.

For some, “two-state solution” or “peace process” could mean U.S. leadership so of course in that sense there could understandably be no faith in it whatsoever. However, the United $tates has in actuality been hampering advancement of the two-state solution for decades.

This may be hard for some of the right-wingers, supporting ethnic cleansing or annexation of the West Bank, to understand if they haven’t been around for a while, but at some points in history calling for an independent state on “the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds,” and the Gaza Strip, or “the occupied Palestinian territories,” could have been reactionary or at least highly debatable – when there was a better chance of Palestinians’ having more than that sooner. Even today some view pursuing independence or recognition as a State as complicating Palestinians’ exercise of their right of return to Palestinian land in “Israel.” So it is significant that Iran’s Press TV admits that about Palestinians: that they have decided to pursue the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on “the occupied Palestinian territories,” which are only a portion of the land that rightfully belongs to the Palestinian nation. It means the situation has changed. A temporary two-state outcome needs to be supported. Even Iranians can acknowledge that as a matter of opposing the Great Satan’s pro-conflict policy leading to another war that nobody in the Middle East wants. If the united $tates were to actually support the two-state solution, then people would be right to be more wary.

Interestingly, the PressTV article mentions imprisoned intifada hero and two-state solution supporter Marwan Barghouti in the context of the imprisonment of another elected lawmaker, Hamas’ Muhammad Abu Tair, who was abducted in “the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.” “Abu Tair joined six other members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), including Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Secretary-General Ahmad Saadat, in jail at the time of his arrest.” The articles quotes the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association as saying, “Palestinian political leaders are routinely arrested and detained as part of an ongoing Israeli effort to suppress Palestinian political processes – and, as a result, Palestinian political sovereignty and self-determination.”

That’s a good way of putting things. People can talk about their difficulties with the two-state solution all they want. And they can believe whatever they want to believe about the nature of the I$raeli imperialist formation, which is no less amerikan in character at this time than it is Jewish or independently Israeli. But either they support, in some sense, Marwan Barhougti’s freedom as a matter of supporting the Palestinian nation’s sovereignty and self-determination, or they don’t. It’s that simple. Keeping Barghouti in prison because one has some disagreement with the two-state solution, or Barghouti’s particular approach to it, does not count as some kind of line struggle or legitimate contribution to debate about how to advance the Palestinian cause internationally.

Some Israelis and others condemned Fatah for re-electing Barghouti to its central committee with the most votes (which it did even as it also re-elected nationally unpopular Mahmoud Abbas to the Fatah chair). The number who attended the Fatah congress doesn’t represent Palestine as a whole, but those critics might as well have been condemning the Palestinian nation. Barghouti has risen to the top in polls for multiple reasons.

For tactical reasons, Iran may be waiting for more people in other countries to support Marwan Barghouti’s release before they support it more, openly. If the Iranians strongly support Barghouti’s release explicitly and publicly, it may be harder for Israelis to support it. That would be understandable. Westerners and First World people have no such excuse.

Unfortunately, Iranian media have been sending contradictory messages. A Press TV writer, in an article published the other day, considers President-elect Trump’s Israel ambassador pick David Friedman’s “sharp opposition” to the “so-called two-state solution” important enough to mention.(3) Trump is making amerika’s unofficial rejection of the two-state solution more official so opposing the two-state solution on some kind of revolutionary grounds is becoming more complicated. But the article also says the Obama administration has been supporting the two-state solution in struggle with an “intransigent” Israel.

By contrast, an article appearing on Ayatollah Khamenei’s website days earlier said the united $tates is the “main factor behind the existence of numerous problems.”(4) “Zionist regime” and “Zionists” appear in the article, but the emphasis is on “the Great Satan and arrogance America.” Others are “smaller satans.”

The language “Great Satan,” “satans,” and even “arrogance” in that context, is religious in origin. But the statement about the united $tates’ being the main factor, even dressed in such language, is more correct than countless secular statements obscuring the u.$. role. Because of complexities of global class structure and struggle, and economic development and international exploitation, most atheists not in China/Russia are less scientific or correct than many Muslims in Islamic countries.

Other poll results

Here at PINotes we also address various perspectives and try to tell the whole truth. So if it has to be said 65% now believe the two-state solution isn’t viable because of settlement expansion, and that 62% support “abandoning the Oslo agreement” as Mahmoud Abbas is supposedly ready to do, it also has to be said a plurality (46%) supports the French initiative described as one that “calls for an international support group for Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, the holding of an international peace conference that would seek a settlement based on the two-state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative in accordance with a specific time frame.” Most expect the initiative to fail, but that’s different from opposing the initiative.

A majority (53%) wants Trump to not be involved in the peace process.

74% of respondents supported “joining more international organizations” “in the absence of peace negotiations.” 53% supported “a return to an armed intifada.” 58% said they preferred “to stay with the international approach” rather than “return to the bilateral negotiations.”

54% believed Israel wanted to “annex the lands occupied in 1967 and expel their population.” Relevantly, almost half of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and a quarter in the West Bank said “they seek to immigrate to other countries.” It’s not just that many Palestinians would prefer to live in Saudi Arabia or closer to the Kaaba.

A plurality (36%) would want Marwan Barghouti, among many choices, to replace Mahmoud Abbas as president if Abbas doesn’t nominate emself. Barghouti (59%) would win against Ismail Haniyeh (36%). Barghouti (39%) would win against both Abbas (24%) and Haniyeh (33%) in a three-candidate contest.

33% “believe that negotiations is the most effective” “means of building a Palestinian state next to the state of Israel.” “37% think armed action is the most effective.” The result suggests there is a basis for viewing armed struggle as an approach to the two-state solution. Some of these things aren’t mutually exclusive.

“46% believe that the first most vital Palestinian goal should be to end Israeli occupation in the areas occupied in 1967 and build a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.” That is a plurality. 30% believe the right of return should be the top priority.

At the same time, though, 31% answered that poverty and unemployment were the most serious problem. 21% said it was “the spread of corruption in public institutions.” 31% + 21% is already a majority with certain ways of looking at things.

28% said it was the occupation and settlement that was the most serious problem. 15% said it was the Gaza Strip siege. 3% said it was “the absence of national unity.”

Not claiming to be Palestinian, this writer isn’t in a position to fully investigate the differences between various polls. But if people are going to talk about how Palestinians doubt the two-state solution, they should also talk about manifestations of how Palestinians still support it. And, many of those who don’t believe in the viability of the TSS may not have been supporting it in the first place, or may not have prioritized either occupation/settlement issues, the right of return, or national unity. If some Palestinians themselves don’t support and oppose certain things, that could have consequences in what activists and elites need to do.

Many make an issue out of the fact that fewer than a majority of Palestinians choose some individual in answer to certain poll questions – when Marwan Barghouti hasn’t had a chance to campaign from outside prison so that others can either fall or rise in polls. Regardless of issues with certain individuals and organizations, and others’ lack of vision, the real problem could be that too few Palestinians themselves strongly support any particular approach to Palestinian liberation. Frustration with the two-state solution that the amerikans obstruct manifests in various ways. Non-Palestinians’ rejecting the two-state solution or multilateral diplomacy, without supporting a real, specific alternative consistent with Palestinians’ national unity and aspirations (not just some lowest-common-denominator effort appealing to amerikans), does not help. If this writer were not emphasizing the two-state solution and anti-amerikan diplomacy, the emphasis instead might be on making preparations for war resulting from the status quo that benefits mostly the amerikans.

If – for the sake of avoiding that war – Arab or Muslim elites in the Middle East want to secretly negotiate for Barghouti’s release, they should consider doing so. Freeing Marwan Barghouti would improve clarity in Palestinian public opinion. There is still a need to overcome the amerikans’ resistance to and interference in multilateral talks, however. ◊

• “Some others clueless while Palestinians continue to support diplomatic and political efforts,” 2016 October. >
• “Iran signals its support for the two-state solution and Palestinian diplomacy,” 2016 November.
• “Palestine: Clinton election non-bombshells and real news,” 2016 November.
• “Iranian-Palestinian relations develop in the midst of unexpected U.S. election result,” 2016 November.
• “Fatah congress gives Marwan Barghouti a boost,” 2016 December.
• “Same old real news: Obama does nothing for the two-state solution,” 2016 December.

1. “Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (62) - PRESS RELEASE,” 2016 December 13.
2. “65% of Palestinians do not believe in two-state solution: poll,” 2016 December 14.
“Two-thirds of Palestinians no longer believe in 2-state deal,” 2016 December 13.
See: “Israeli military court sentences Palestinian lawmaker to 17 months in prison,” 2016 December 14. “Abu Tair, who is from occupied East Jerusalem, was detained on Jan. 27 from his home in the neighborhood of Kafr Aqab, along with at least one other Palestinian from Kafr Aqab. At the time, an Israeli army spokesperson described the two detainees as “Hamas terror operatives.”” “At the time of his arrest, Abu Tair joined six other Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members incarcerated by Israel, including Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Secretary-General Ahmad Saadat.” “Israel considers the majority of Palestinian political parties to be “terrorist organizations.” As a result, most Palestinians who participate in the political arena in the occupied Palestinian territory risk being imprisoned by Israeli authorities.”
3. “Trump’s Israel envoy would cause war in Middle East: experts,” 2016 December 18. “However, The New York Times has published several excerpts of Friedman’s writings which show his sharp opposition to the so-called two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.” “The Obama administration has been engaged in efforts for the initiative during his tenure but to no avail as the Israeli regime has remained intransigent in its expansive policies as well as the harsh crackdown on the Palestinian population.”
4. “Not a Shia-Sunni issue, as US-backed takfiris massacre Aleppo’s Sunnis: Ayatollah Khamenei,” 2016 December 14. “The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution mentioned that the main factor behind the existence of numerous problems in the region is The Great Satan and arrogance America. Referring to the interferences of smaller satans, in creating different crises in the region, he said: “The goal of all of them is to undermine the issue of Palestine in the minds of public opinion in the region so that nations forget that issue.””

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