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More Palestinians seek Abbas' resignation, survey shows

September 19, 2017 at 8:30 pm

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a central committee meeting of Fatah Movement in Ramallah, West Bank on 13 September 2017 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

A survey shows that 67 per cent of Palestinians want the resignation of President Mahmoud Abbas and 75 per cent remain skeptical of the role the administration of US President Donald Trump plays in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The result of the survey, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research among 1,270 Palestinians, was published Tuesday. It showed that only 33 per cent of Palestinians wanted Abbas to remain in office. Three-quarters believed the Trump administration was not serious about a peace deal.

The poll showed 52 per cent of Palestinians still supported a two-state solution, but 57 per cent said it was no longer feasible because of Israel’s settlement expansion.

The Survey Research poll had an error margin of three percentage points.

The latest survey comes a day ahead of a meeting between Abbas and Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

President Trump, who has not publicly supported establishing a Palestinian state or offered another path forward, said this week that his administration was “working very hard” toward a deal.

The Trump administration has been by and large vague about the potential establishment of a Palestinian state. Earlier this year, Washington suggested that it would no longer insist on the so-called two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which envisages the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

Read: Majority of Palestinians oppose Abbas’ actions against Gaza

In 1948, Israeli forces seized vast expanses of Palestinian territories in Western-backed military operations and forced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland.

Israel also occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip during the Six-Day War in 1967. It later annexed East Jerusalem al-Quds in a move not recognized by the international community.

Israel later withdrew from Gaza but has kept the coastal enclave under a crippling siege since 2007.

Israel has also launched several wars on the Palestinian sliver, the last of which began in early July 2014. The Israeli military aggression, which ended on 26 August that year, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians. Over 11,100 others were also wounded.

Palestinian officials say they want the resolution of the conflict with Tel Aviv based on the two-state solution along the pre-1967 boundaries. However, Israel has been building settlements deep within the territory that the Palestinians want for their future state.

Abbas’s popularity sinking

Abbas’ popularity has been sinking in the absence of strong diplomacy against Israel, a stagnating West Bank economy and the resurgence of forms of corruption that had been significantly reduced under former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Abbas, 82, is suddenly surrounded by a series of political challenges that amount to jockeying for succession.

Last month, Abbas threatened to gradually cut financial support to the impoverished strip of Gaza “by 100 per cent” until Palestinian resistance movement Hamas agreed to reconcile with Fatah.

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Hamas has shunned contacts with Israel, while the Palestinian Authority maintains security coordination with Tel Aviv.

Hamas has recently accepted “key” reconciliation conditions offered by Fatah party’s head, Abbas, including nationwide elections.

The coordination and whether Hamas would subject its security forces to the Palestinian Authority command have persistently thrown off the prospect of reconciliation between the Palestinian factions.