Some 70 per cent of Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip want President Mahmoud Abbas to resign immediately, according to a new poll by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research conducted 7-10 December.
The poll, conducted in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in the immediate aftermath of US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, makes grim reading for Abbas, with those demanding his resignation up three points from September.
Abbas’ net satisfaction rating, meanwhile, has dropped one point to minus 35, with just 31 per cent satisfied with his performance, compared to 66 per cent who are dissatisfied.
When asked about who should succeed Abbas, 35 per cent expressed a preference for Marwan Barghouthi, 22 per cent would vote for Ismail Haniyeh, while Mohammad Dahlan attracted the support of just seven per cent of Palestinians (15 per cent in Gaza and one per cent in the West Bank).
With regards to the national unity file, 38 per cent of Palestinians in the oPt are satisfied and 55 per cent are dissatisfied with the performance of the reconciliation government. Fifty per cent are optimistic and 45 per cent are pessimistic about the success of reconciliation; three months ago, optimism stood at 31 per cent and pessimism at 61 per cent.
Some 81 per cent of Palestinians in the oPt want the reconciliation government to pay the salaries of the civil employees of the former Hamas government, while only 14 per cent do not it to do so. The same number (81 per cent) want the reconciliation government to pay the salaries of the security sector employees of the former Hamas government.
With regards to Abbas’ call for “one government, one gun”, only 22 per cent of those polled support the disbanding of Palestinian factions’ armed wings in the Gaza Strip, and 72 per cent want those armed groups to remain in place.
Regarding Trump’s policy shift on Jerusalem, a plurality of Palestinians (45 per cent) believe that “the most appropriate” Palestinian response is to stop all contacts with the US administration, submit a formal complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and resort to an armed intifada.
Twenty-seven per cent want an end to contacts, the submission of a complaint to the ICC, and “non-violent resistance”. Twelve per cent want the Palestinian Authority to simply denounce the US step and stop contacts with the Trump administration, while another 12 per cent want just verbal condemnation.
A plurality of Palestinians (44 per cent) believe armed resistance is the most effective means of establishing a Palestinian state, 27 per cent think negotiation is the most effective means, and 23 per cent think non-violent resistance is the most effective. Three months ago, 35 per cent indicated that armed resistance is the answer and 33 per cent sided with negotiation.
While most Palestinians believe the Trump administration will not submit a plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, 86 per cent believe that any such plan “will not meet Palestinian need to end occupation and build a state”. Nonetheless, 49 per cent think Abbas might accept the American peace plan if one is indeed submitted to him, while 42 per cent believe he will not accept it.
Regarding “public trust in the roles and positions of major Arab countries in the peace process and the US efforts to develop a regional agreement in the context of Palestinian-Israeli peace”, 82 per cent of Palestinians in the oPt say they do not trust the Saudi role, 75 per cent do not trust the Emirati role, and 70 per cent do not trust the Egyptian role.