Two-thirds of Palestinians Support Abbas Departure

Two-thirds of Palestinians believe that PA President Mahmoud Abbas should resign. (Via Aljazeera/file)

An opinion poll has suggested that two-thirds of Palestinians believe that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas should resign. They also think that his resignation from the PLO Executive Committee is not “real”.

The Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research released the results of a poll on Monday that it conducted in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip between 17 and 19 September. The results show that the popularity of President Abbas has declined “significantly” in the occupied West Bank and has improved “slightly” in the Gaza Strip. Fatah’s popularity has declined in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The results revealed an increase in Hamas popularity in the occupied West Bank and a significant decrease in the Gaza Strip. The popularity of the deputy leader of the Islamic movement, Ismail Haniyeh, has improved in the West Bank but fallen slightly in Gaza.

“If Abbas does not participate in the next presidential elections,” said the research NGO, “the only viable candidates from Fatah to replace him are Marwan Barghouti followed, but with much less support, by Mohammad Dahlan and Saeb Erekat.” Among Hamas candidates, it added, Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Meshaal are the most popular to replace Abbas, while among the independents the most popular is Rami Al-Hamdallah followed by Salam Fayyad.

“Two-thirds of the public support Hamas-Israel indirect negotiations about a long term Hudna, or truce, in return for ending the siege of the Gaza Strip. But a majority believes that these negotiations will not succeed. A majority rejects the belief that such negotiations, even if they succeed, would harm the chances for reconciliation.”

The results also reveal that the Palestinian public does not view the PLO or its Executive Committee positively and declines to give it a mandate to make important decisions on behalf of all Palestinians. Instead, the public prefers to give such a mandate to the PA, even if the decisions in question relate to the permanent agreement with Israel. “This, though, does not mean that the public has considerable trust in the PA,” said the centre. “On the contrary, a majority believes that it has become a burden on the Palestinian people and, for the first time since we started asking, a majority now demands the PA’s dissolution.”

Results also show that two-thirds of the public believe that the protection of Palestinians against settler terrorism is the responsibility of the PA, not the Israeli army. “Furthermore, two-thirds believe that the PA is not doing enough to protect Palestinian citizens. To protect Palestinian towns and villages targeted by settlers, the largest percentage has selected, from among several options, the deployment of the Palestinian security forces in those areas. The public believes that if the PA formally establishes civil guard units made up of volunteers in such areas, it would also help to provide protection. Indeed, half of West Bankers say that if such unarmed units were established, they would volunteer to join them.”

The survey was conducted on a random sample of 1,270 people in 127 locations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

(Middle East Monitor)

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