Mahmoud Abbas

Fearing that their freedom is in jeopardy, many Palestinians view the Palestinian Authority as a burden and demand that PA head Mahmoud Abbas step down.

An overwhelming majority of Palestinians worry about the future of their freedom in the Palestinian Authority (PA), while two-thirds of the Palestinians demand the resignation of PA head Mahmoud Abbas, with half the public viewing the PA as a burden on the Palestinian people, a new poll shows.

The latest poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in September shows that the vast majority of the Palestinians feels their freedom is under assault by the PA, a perception that seems to be driven by the recent increase in incidents in which journalists and activists have been arrested by the PA and Hamas via the recently announced presidential decree enacting a cybercrime law curbing the freedom of speech, and by the government’s proposed amendments to the Law of the Judiciary.

A large majority believes that Palestinians cannot criticize the PA without fear.

Apprehension about the future of their rights, along with concerns about the steps taken by the PA against the Gaza Strip, might be responsible for increased demands for Abbas’ resignation and the decline in his popularity compared to that of Hamas’ presidential candidate Ismael Haniyeh, the PSR explains.

If presidential elections were held today, Haniyeh would defeat Abbas, consistent with other findings during the past several years.

A 67 percent majority of the Palestinian public want Abbas to resign, while 27 percent want him to remain in office. Three months ago, 62 percent said they wanted Abbas to resign. Demand for Abbas’ resignation stands at 60 percent in the PA and 80 percent in the Gaza Strip. Three months ago, demand for Abbas’ resignation stood at 55 percent in the PA and 75 percent in the Gaza Strip.

If Abbas does not nominate himself in a new election, 35 percent prefer Marwan Barghouti to replace him, while 21 percent prefer Ismail Haniyeh and 9 percent support Mohammad Dahlan.

Barghouti is serving five life terms in an Israeli prison for leading several terror attacks.

The level of satisfaction with Abbas’ performance stands at 31 percent and dissatisfaction at 65 percent.

If new presidential elections were held today and only two were nominated, Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Abbas, they would receive 50 percent and the 42 percent of the vote, respectively.

Findings also indicate a decline in support for Fatah, particularly in the Gaza Strip where Hamas is more popular.

No Belief in Pending Peace

As for President Donald Trump’s peace efforts, 74 percent believe the US Administration under Trump is not serious in its efforts; 22 percent think it is.

A majority of 55 percent believe that if the Trump Administration invites the Palestinian leadership to return to negotiations with Israel, it should not accept the invitation; 41 percent think it should accept it.

If negotiations are resumed under US sponsorship, the Trump Administration will be biased in favor of Israel, according to 83 percent of the public; 10 percent think it will be an honest broker and 2 percent think it will be biased in favor of the Palestinian side.

Similarly, 70 percent think the chances for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel in the next five years are slim to non-existent and 28 percent think the chances are medium or high.

35 percent think that the most effective means of creating a Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel is violence, 33 percent think negotiation is the most effective, and 26 percent think “popular non-violent resistance” is the most effective.

The most serious problem confronting Palestinian society today is poverty and unemployment in the eyes of 26 percent of the public, while 25 percent believe it is the spread of corruption in public institutions; 23 percent say it is the continuation of Israel’s “occupation and settlement activities”; 20 percent say it is the siege of the Gaza Strip and the closure of its crossings.

The poll sampled 1,270 adults interviewed face to face in 127 randomly selected locations. The margin of error is 3 percent.

By: United with Israel Staff

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