A depressing poll from Palestine

I keep hoping that Israel and Palestine will sit down at the table and finally negotiate a two-state solution, but that favorable end seems further away all the time. And that’s especially so given the results of  a new poll from the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) headquartered in Ramallah.

The poll was taken between August 26-30 of this year, that is, during the first four days of the ceasefire after cessation of hostilities.  As the organization notes:

This press release covers public perception of the war, who came out a winner, the ceasefire agreement, targeting of civilians, evaluation of the performance of various Palestinian actors during the war, and war impact on reconciliation. It also covers Palestinian elections, the internal balance of power, the June kidnapping and killing of the three Israelis, and others. Total size of the sample is 1270 adults interviewed face to face in 127 randomly selected locations. Margin of error is 3%.

Here are some of the depressing results. The main one is that Hamas has gained terrifically in popularity.  While one might explain that as a result of recent hostilities, one might also think that Palestinians are tired of Hamas and its recalcitrance, and would prefer the more moderate Abbas regime that could negotiate more successfully for peace. Some readers have maintained that Hamas doesn’t represent a majority of Palestinians, even in Gaza. That doesn’t seem to be the case: Hamas is a big favorite among all Palestinians, even more so in the West Bank! (Note that residents of both Gaza and the West Bank were surveyed.)

The bulleted points are taken verbatim from the survey, but it’s much more extensive than this.

  • 60% say that Hamas does not launch rockets from populated areas, but 30% say it does. 49% think it is justified for Hamas to launch rockets from populated areas and 46% disagree with that. Percentage of those who believe that launching rockets from populated areas is unjustified increases to 59% among Gazans while standing at 38% among West Bankers. [JAC: I think it’s generally agreed by others that Hamas does launch rockets from populated areas]
  • Only 30% believe that Hamas should warn Israeli civilians in the specific targeted areas before launching its rockets; 68% believe it should not do so.
  • About two thirds (64%) believe that Iran, Turkey and Qatar combined have given the Gaza Strip the ability to remain steadfast against Israeli attacks and to be able to continue to launch rockets during the war; only 9% believe Egypt too has contributed to that. Iran comes on top with 28%, followed by Turkey (21%) and Qatar (15%); 25% select other countries or actors.

Qatar has long been known as an enabler of terrorists, but Turkey?

  • In an evaluation of the performance of the various Palestinian actors during the war, Prime Minister Rami al Hamdallah comes at the bottom, with 35% giving him a positive rating. The PA comes next with 36%, Abbas with 39%, the reconciliation government with 43%, and the PLO with 44%. On top comes Khalid Mish’al with 78% approval and Hamas with 88% approval. The approval rating for Abbas rises to 49% in the Gaza Strip and drops to 33% in the West Bank. By contrast, Khalid Mish’al’s approval rating drops in the Gaza Strip to 70% and rises to 83% in the West Bank.

Khalid Mish’al, of course, has been the head of Hamas for a decade.

  • If new legislative elections were held today with the participation of all factions, 78% say they would participate in such elections. Of those who would participate, 46% say they would vote for Hamas and 31% say they would vote for Fatah, 7% would vote for all other third parties combined, and 17% are undecided. Two months ago, vote for Hamas stood at 32% and for Fatah at 40%. Vote for Hamas in the Gaza Strip stands in this poll at 44% and in the West Bank at 47%. Vote for Fatah in the Gaza Strip stands in this poll at 36% and in the West Bank at 27%.
  • The public is divided over the two-state solution: 49% support it and 50% oppose it. In our last poll two months ago, 54% supported this solution and 46% opposed it.

I wish more people were on board with the two-state solution. Without it, the killings and attacks will go on indefinitely. But even 54% is pathetic.

  • A majority of 53% believe that armed confrontation is the most effective means to establish a Palestinian state next to the state of Israel. Only 22% believe negotiation is the best means to establish a Palestinian state and 20% believe that popular non-violent resistance is the most effective route to statehood.
  • 57% of the public say that they supported the June 2014 kidnapping of the three Israelis in the West Bank when that incident took place. Support for the kidnapping reached 67% in the Gaza Strip and only 45% in the West Bank.
  • Similarly, a majority of 54% supported the killing of the three kidnapped Israelis and 42% opposed it. Support for the killing reached 69% in the Gaza Strip and only 42% in the West Bank. 52% of the West Bankers opposed the killing of the three kidnapped Israelis.

I have no equivalent survey for Israel, and you should look at the entire long panoply of the results from Palestine. But the bullet-points above are depressing. I understand that passions might well have been inflamed by the recent hostilities, but continuing support for Hamas, for firing rockets at Israeli civilians without warning, the sanctioning of kidnapping and killing civilians, and so on—this is not a step on the road to peace. And, as I noted, I have no similar results from Israel to compare to these figures.

Now that ISIS is on the ascendancy, however, I worry far more about that. All it takes is one renegade state to sell them a nuclear weapon, and it’s all over. I’m not worried about nukes in Palestine, but if they were in the hands of ISIS, all bets are off.  There’s just no light at the end of the tunnel: just a long, dark tunnel with no visible exit.


  1. GBJames
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 6:17 am | Permalink


  2. Malgorzata
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    There was a survey in Israel, done 9-11 June 2014 (befere kidnapping and murder of the three teenagers). 60% of Israelis supported the two state solution, 32% were against. Also 60% supported negotiations with Palestinian Authority.

    Also in June 2014 there was a poll of Palestinians. 60% said that the goal of their national movement should be “work toward reclaiming all of historic Palestine from the river to the sea”. The two state solution was supported by 27% of Palestinians.

    So even before the latest round of hostilities the situation was dismal.

    • Posted September 3, 2014 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      Geez, that seems hard to negotiate with. I wonder what those 60% of Palestinians see realistically happening in the future. Like, do the Isrealis just give up? Are they wiped out? They might want to read a bit about the Samson Option.

      “We’d like a two state solution.”

      “Fair enough. We would like to see you driven into the sea.”

      • Diane G.
        Posted September 4, 2014 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        “We’d like a two state solution.”

        “Great. You can have Atlantis.”

    • Shwell Thanksh
      Posted September 3, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      It would be very interesting to see what polling shows of the level of Israeli citizens’ support for continuing usurpation of Palestinian land (usually euphemistically called “settlements”).

      Also, a breakout of right-wing Netanyahu supporters vs. moderates on these actions.

  3. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Oy vey.

  4. Posted September 3, 2014 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    This is depressing indeed. But I am surprised that you are completely silent about the land-theft in the west bank by Israel.From what I read, the West Bank has been fairly peaceful, and the PA helped locate the perpetrators of the ghastly kidnapping and murder. If this is thanked by a blatant land-grab, is it any surprise that the people in the palestinian territories feel less than kindly towards them.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted September 3, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      There is nothing to be surprised about. The post is about a different matter. But if you want to address this matter as well it would be informative to keep to facts:

      It is a question of 988 acres (some 4 sqare kilometers) of land which does not belong to any physical person, society nor corporation. This piece of land was declared “state land” in accordance with Ottoman Law which is the law of the West Bank, and in accordance with Oslo Agreements signed voluntarily by Palestinians’ representatives. It is in Area C in the part which in all previous negotiations was meant to go to Israel when the final land swaps would be carried out.

      • Posted September 3, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        What are the other things that eventuality is a defense for? If a population sees itself as an oppressed one, and the supposed oppressor keeps acting like an oppressor, such polls are going to be the normal outcome. If I start building on a plot I eventually intend to buy and am in negotiations to buy, I am no less a land-grabber. I think the same standard needs to be applied to Israel. In the light of such actions, it is not surprising that large majorities of the Palestinians don’t see any hope for a negotiated settlement.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

          Almost 20 years ago this population or 95% of this population got their own government, own legisltive organ, own judiciary system, own educational system etc. The remaining 5% (in Area C) was and is under Israeli occupation. Time after time there were peace proposals with offers of their own, independent state, which were refused by Palestinians. Israel left Gaza 2005 as a gesture for peace, dismantling all settlements and uprooting their own citizens. The blockade was enforced first 2007 when the inhabitants of this no longer occupied piece of land voted for a terrorist organization which says absolutely openly that its aim is annihilation of Israel, and Jews, not only in Israel but everywhere. So we have 95% of Palestinians in the West Bank who so far refused to accept their own state but in practice have all atributes of a state, and we have Gaza with Hamas. I do not think your argument about poor occupied and maltreated population which has no other choice but hate, is valid.

          • Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

            I am not saying that the poor occupied and maltreated has no other choice but hate. I am saying that it is understandable that a population that SEES itself as poor , occupied and maltreated hates. There is a subtle difference.

        • Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

          Your analogy isn’t valid. The land isn’t more Palestinian than Israeli. Israel isn’t preparing to buy it, but holds that it is disputed and its future will be decided on the negotiations table. It’s the Palestinians who left the table and refuse to come back.

          • Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

            There is a proposed swap of some kind. the same way as there is a proposed swap when money is exchanged for land. If you unilaterally start using the end product before the swap is completed, then it is theft.

            • Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

              The land swap proposals don’t imply recognition of palestine’s (which doesn’t exist and never has) ownership of any land until the status of rhode lands is decided.

              • Posted September 3, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

                I am sure that will be news to the people who have been living there for ages.

              • Posted September 3, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

                Nobody lives on the lands that were declared state lands. Otherwise, this couldn’t be done.
                This isn’t news, but the Israeli position since 1967.

      • Posted September 3, 2014 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        By the way, none of what I have written justifies killing and murder by any party. I strongly disapprove any violence in political issues, by either side. I have been shouted at by many of my friends for calling the “revolutionaries” of the Indian Independence Movement terrorists.

    • Posted September 3, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      “I am surprised that you are completely silent about the land-theft in the west bank”

      That’s very unfair. This post is not about that issue, and in Jerry’s previous post on Israel he described the illegal settlements as “unconscionable” — a sentiment he has frequently expressed here.

      And anyway, why do so many people think that any story at all about the this geographical area simply must list all of Israel’s crimes? How often does the media mention that in Gaza extra-marital pregnancy carries a prison sentence (for the child as well), or that the possession of hashish carries the death penalty, etc etc etc?

      • Posted September 3, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        It is important because not mentioning it makes it sound like the palestinians are hating and calling for terrorist tactics in a vacuum. I agree that Jerry has called the settlements unconscionable, but if you are posting about the fact that the Palestinians don’t have too much hope for a negotiated settlement, then the causes for that lack of hope need to be mentioned.
        If the divergence of opinion between the two sides is mentioned, the causes for that divergence need to be mentioned. The party with more power is always going to have more hope in negotiation, because negotiation is more likely to retain the status quo. The party that sees itself as aggrieved is going to be more hated, and is going to look towards violence for a solution.

    • Paul S.
      Posted September 3, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Land Theft? I sense a bit of hypocrisy. I’m relatively certain that where you’re living once belonged to someone else and you wouldn’t give it up voluntarily because it previously belonged to a different family/community/nation. As far as I can tell Palestine didn’t exist as a nation under the Ottoman Empire; they had a 30 year claim to land in the region 1918 – 1948. Both redistributions were the result of treaties. If you want to talk about oppressed and displaced peoples, let’s talk about South Africans, Aborigines, and Native Americans (US), who are still under the governance of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Palestinians have had opportunities for peace and land to call their own, not surprisingly they have rejected it out of hand.

      • Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        The land theft that is being spoken off is the one that happened this week, not the one that happened 60 years ago.

        • Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

          It’s not “land theft”. You obviously have no idea what you are talking about and recite propaganda slogans.
          No land was annexed to Israel this week and no Palestinian was removed from his land, nor was it used for any other purpose.
          The land was declared state land by the administration of the occupied territories, in accordance with the local law. The land hasn’t been used for ages.

          But again, don’t let reality stand on your way for a good argument.

          • Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

            Both the sources I have read are Israel (Haaretz and Times of Israel) I guess they are propagandists. I can’t see a single nation in the world saying all is hunky dory – go right ahead and build there.

            • Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

              “As far as I can tell Palestine didn’t exist as a nation under the Ottoman Empire;” Quoting Paul S.

              If Palestine didn’t exist as a nation under the Ottoman Empire, neither did Greece or Bulgaria or Serbia or Iraq or Syria or Lebanon. It is a meaningless statement. The European part of the Ottoman empire got nationalism a bit early and developed an identity earlier.

            • Posted September 3, 2014 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

              If your sources described a legal act as theft, then yes, they are propagandist. Please show me where the Times of Israel said that.

      • Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        Also, if the palestinians not existing as a separate nation under the ottoman empire is a meaningless distinction, neither did the greeks, or bulgarians, or bosnians, or so many of the “nationalities” of Eastern Europe. I don’t see anybody denying the existence of the Greeks as a people.

        • Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

          There is Greece and Bulgaria as states.
          There is no state called Palestine and never has been.
          Nobody is denying the existence of a region called Palestine and people living in that region.

        • Paul S.
          Posted September 4, 2014 at 5:18 am | Permalink

          I didn’t say Palestinians are not a people or that they didn’t live near what is now Israel. I pointed out that land in the middle east has been redistributed by treaty more than once. You’ll note that Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon have all been included in the redistribution and I don’t see Greece firing rockets into Albania and Croatia or trying to drive them into the sea.

          • Posted September 4, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

            They tried it once. They called it the first world war.

            • Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:05 am | Permalink

              The Palestinians are still trying.

              • Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

                Actually, a lot of the people are still trying. The Serbians, the Kosovars, the Bosnians, the Turks and Greeks in Cyprus. The Kurds for what seems to be an eternity.

              • Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

                Kosovo is new and it may be an exception (from the Serbian side), but none of your other examples deny the others’ right to exist the way the Palestinians deny Israel’s.

              • Posted September 4, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

                There is a limit on the number of nested replies. sort of irritating.

                Srebrenica did happen not that long ago.

              • Posted September 4, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

                “Not that long ago” is relative and subjective. What’s more important is that Serbia and Bosnia recognize each other.
                The point that your examples don’t deny the other sides’ right to exist (Kosovo doesn’t wish to destroy Serbia. I am not sure if Serbia now recognizes Kosovo, but it isn’t doing anything about it on the ground).
                The Palestinians still refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist AND actually attack it. Hamas, the government in Gaza actually kills Israelis. The supposedly moderate PA glorifies terrorists, teaches hate to Jews and Israel in its education system and delegitimizes Israel.

  5. Hempenstein
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Beer & (pork) BBQ seems to help people overcome their differences. They should try it.

    • colnago80
      Posted September 3, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Somehow, I don’t think that pork would be very conducive to fruitful relations between Jewish Israelis and Muslim Palestinians.

      • Marella
        Posted September 3, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        Oh I dunno, it would be something they could agree on.

    • Posted September 3, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      I think you and I should conduct some experiments regarding your beer & pork theory. I think this is something that will require extensive amounts of research.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      This is not an entirely new proposal.

      Its originator has been justly rewarded.

  6. Posted September 3, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink


  7. fraudoktor
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    I agree with the last comment. Terrorism, and killing of civilian people is unforgivable. And i don’t condone oppression of Israeli state either. I think oppression and the silence of third parties towards oppression can make a people angry enough to take matters into a new level (aka terrorism)

    If the 60% of Israelis support the two state solution why can’t we see this in their governments’ actions? What do they say about the land-theft happening throughout the last 5-6 decades?

    Someone’s terrorist is someone else’s gerilla. I don’t mean that Hamas is an angel sent from heaven but i mean it is what these people got. Who made them that desperate?

    PS. I am in no side of this fight. I consider myself unbiased in this topic.

    • Dave
      Posted September 3, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      “I don’t mean that Hamas is an angel sent from heaven but i mean it is what these people got. Who made them that desperate?”

      The only “desperation” these savages feel is the desperate desire to kill Jews of any age, sex or condition, by whatever means are available to them. Their magic book tells them that Jews are the enemy – that’s all the justification they need.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted September 3, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      It is so wonderful when people are unbiased and do not take sides. Sweden made millions on not taking side in WWII.
      Here we have a choice of one side who was proposing negotiations and peace from the time it was established as a state, always beeing met with loud “No”. The last four times peace proposals (the most generous one, by Ehud Olmert, encompassed 95% of West Bank with land swaps, 100% of Gaza and East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital) were presented, first to Arafat and then to Abbas, they were met with the same “No”. But an unbiased person cannot see this and says that the attitude of 60% of Israeli population is not acted on by this right-wing Netanyahu.
      And there is the other side, which refuses to become the independent state time and time again and promotes hatred to its neighbour in school curricula, in its TV programmes, in newspapers and also in speaches of its leaders when they are in speaking Arabic (for example, quite recent statement by Mr Jubril, a very high official in Abbas government, that if Palestinians had an atomic bomb theyn would drop it on Israel tomorrow). But all this (and much more) is just ignored. Is it in order to remain neutral?
      And about the desperation of Hamas – who made ISIS so desperate that they behead and crucify people, murder thousands and rape women and children? Might it be education in hatred, is it possible that all this is not Israelis’ fault?

  8. J Cook
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Has anyone considered the type of “news” and information Gaza’s citizens get?

    • mordacious1
      Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      …and that the most vocal opponents of Hamas tend to disappear or are labeled “collaborators” and summarily executed.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 3, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      I wonder the same. But then again, our own reports can be confusing as well. I also wonder how safe people feel in their answers.

  9. Chris
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Not surprised, sadly, and the Israel govt and IDF has to shoulder a good chunk of the blame too.

    • Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Indeed. It’s a shame that Israel actually defends its citizens when all the poor Palestinians want is to kill them.

      • Chris
        Posted September 3, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        And it’s a shame that the IDF seemed to do a far better job of killing civilians than Hamas militants.

        And no BS about “human shields”. A sign of a civilised nation would be to take that into account. And maybe not airstrike people’s homes. And UN hospitals.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted September 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

          1. How do you know that more civilians than terrorists were killed? That is what Hamas says (UN data are based on Hamas data.) Israel says that according to preliminary estimate about 50% of killed people were fighters. For Cast Lead IDF estimates were correct; Hamas information of “most civilians” was not. Which Hamas admitted two years later stating that 700 their fighters were killed – which was precisely the number IDF gave directly after the end of hostilities.

          2. And why is human shield a BS? Could you answer honestly two questions asked by Amoz Oz:

          Question 1: What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap and starts shooting machine gun fire into your nursery?

          Question 2: What would you do if your neighbor across the street digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or in order to kidnap your family?

        • Posted September 3, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          Israel takes that into account. That’s why we kill less civilians than the US and Britain did in Iraq, without any risk to their own civilians.

          • RobMunguia
            Posted September 3, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

            Gaza is one of the most dense human places of the world. Most of the Palestinians that live there are descendants of families that were expelled from their homes of what is now Israel. The complete disregard of Israel of the harm caused to the Palestinian children, women and civilians is simply immoral. It is easier to say that civilians are used as human shields. By the way, the metaphor of human shield would be valid if the presence of civilians were a deterrent for Israel army. Sadly the the thousands of deaths show that it is not the case.

            • Posted September 3, 2014 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

              As you demonstrate, it actually works to gain the support of useful idiots.
              Hamas using human shields is reality. Hamas doing this while targeting Israeli civilians is a fact.
              What’s immoral is to reward Hamas by saying that Israel has to let Hamas operate freely against Israeli civilians because Hamas does this while hiding behind Palestinian civilians.

              • RobMunguia
                Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

                It is my understanding that insulting someone it is against the rules of this site. I would gladly discuss with you with arguments not with adjectives. Best regards.

              • Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

                I used arguments, which you conveniently ignore.
                I thought that “useful idiot” is an idiom (it is in my country).
                Anyway, regardless of the rules, I didn’t mean that you, RobMunguia, are an idiot and I am sorry if I created another impression.

                What I mean is that, by using human shields, Hamas gains the support of people like you, who use headcount to decide who is right.

  10. Dominic
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Effectively as the Gaza strip & the West Bank are separated physically, could they ever form one state? Surly better in that case for Gaza to either join back with Egypt or be a mini state… ?

    • Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Alaska and Hawaii are separated from the rest of the US…

      • eric
        Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        Not quite the same, because US citizens aren’t forced to go through a different state to move between the various parts; you can get from Alaska to the CONUS to Hawaii using international waters. Gaza-West Bank has no such access, people going from one ot the other would be forced to go through Israel (or Suez canal to Jordan, but you’re still forced to go through another country). Secondly, Canada and the US don’t have the historic emnity of Israel and the Palestinians to deal with. If we did, it would make things much economically harder for Alaska.

        I think it could still be done, but it’s not an insignificant issue. I think a workable two-state solution should probably address travel between the two bits directly, most likely with guarantees to the Palestinians that in any situation short of war, travel is going to be pretty free (maybe there are other workable solutions, but that’s the one that springs to mind).

        Having said that, I don’t think mine is a new idea and I believe that the two sides negotiators have in fact talked about this issue in past negotiations. So I’m basically pointing out that they should consider something the are probably already considering.

        • Posted September 3, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

          To my knowledge, no significant Palestinian has ever agreed to this.
          Israelis play with it here and there, but I don’t remember anything serious from them either.
          In a reality of peace, the physical separation shouldn’t be a major difficulty.

  11. Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Mohamad Alarefe is just so progressive.

    Our civilization has not yet fully recovered from the shock of its birth. — Karl Popper

  12. Posted September 3, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Qatar has long been known as an enabler of terrorists, but Turkey?

    -Yes, Turkey. It is well known that without Turkish complicity, there would be no Syrian civil war and no Islamic State. Turkey only began seriously cracking down on the Islamic State in its own borders mid-this year, after the State no longer needed an open Turkish border to thrive, and never allowed the Syrian rebels to make even temporary gains against the ISIS as they did against the regime from Turkey.

    Besides, everyone remember Turkey’s support for the Gaza flotilla?

  13. Heather Hastie
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Two days ago Stephen Sackur interviewed the Secretary General of the PLO. The SG was saying Hamas are popular now because their tactics seem to have worked, where years of negotiations haven’t. Imo more moderate Palestinians are paying a political price for their recalcitrance at the negotiating table. What most people actually want is peace, security (including economic) and freedom, and they’ll go with whoever they think is most likely to get them that. It appears to them progress has been made as a result of Hamas’ tactics, so they’re flavour of the month.

    Religion is also going to remain a complicating factor as long as loud voices call for murder based on religion. As Jerry has previously suggested, read the Hamas Charter – it is an horrific document, especially for Israel. The type of people who hold to such beliefs shouldn’t be in power in any government, anywhere.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted September 3, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      I’m very much afraid that judging others according to what we know about ourselves might be very misleading. Mothers saying that their highest dream is for their children to become martyrs seem to us so totally horrid and alien that we either refuse to believe that this moght be a common phenomenon among fanatic believers (unfortunately, it is)or try to find some rational explanation (poverty, opression etc.) which not only are not true but do not explain anything. Why there are no suicide bombers among Palestinian Christians? Not one?

      I would love to believe that what most people want is peace and security. The situation would not be so depressing. But just read this discussion on Facebook between French and British citizens fighting in Iraq about uses of Yazidi women as sex slaves. Do they sound as if peace and security were on their minds:

      • Posted September 3, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        How truly horrible, Malgorzata. I am really having a hard time with the news these days. Isis, Boko Haram, Ukraine, Ebola…thank Ceiling Cat for cats and dogs to keep us sane.

      • Posted September 3, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Habash . Palestinian Christian. Not quite involved with suicide bombing, but hijacking and blowing planes up. When the movement for Palestine was secular, Israel tried to undermine it by supporting Hamas, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB123275572295011847.

        The british are often praised for doing a better job decolonizing than the French, but they seem to have left as much of a mess, if not a larger one.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted September 4, 2014 at 12:37 am | Permalink

          I would think that there is an obvious difference between a leader who is sending his men to kill and be killed (a normal phenomenon throughout human history), and a suicide bomber (a very unusual phenomenon with just a handful of examples in the whole human history). And among some 200 Palestinian human bombs there was not one Palestinian Christian.

          George Habash – interesting figure. He founded Arab Nationalist Movement 1951 and aligned it with Nasser’s movement (note: not Palestinian movement but Arab; The name “Palestinian” was still used for Jews living in this region, Arabs called themselves Arabs or Syrians). Later, 1964, with the change of thinking about “Palestinians”, he founded Palestinian Liberation Organization. West Bank was then in Arab hands (Jordan) and Gaza was in Arab hands (Egypt). PLO in an explicit statement announced that it had no claims neither to West Bank nor to Gaza – so where was this “Palestine” they wanted to liberate? Why, of course – it was Israel.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted September 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        I agree with you in the main, which is why I added the paragraph about religion, and elsewhere I have referred to the abhorrent Hamas Charter. I also think that currently most Palestinians believe (wrongly) Hamas is going to get them the better life they want, and that is the reason for the results of this survey.

        I also think that those who think issues like poverty are a cause of the situation in the region are naive.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted September 3, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

          The conversation about female slaves is revolting, and is exactly what I would expect from these cowards. It’s quite depressing. They’re all losers imo.

          Many men around the world have similar attitudes to women still, and there is a strong correlation with extreme religious belief, especially Islam.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 3, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        Those tweets are terrible. The one where the person adds an “LOL” to one of the girls committing suicide is chilling. I’m not surprised but I’m still disgusted.

        • Diane G.
          Posted September 4, 2014 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

          I was going to mention that “LOL,” but you beat me to it. Of course, all the other “LOL’s” there were also disturbing, but I guess there’s a gradient…

  14. Marella
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    The two state solution has been on the table for decades and is no nearer than it was 40 years ago. I prefer the three state solution. Give Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan, then it would be their responsibility to keep the peace.

    • Posted September 3, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Both have, since the 1980s, viewed these places as hot potatoes.

      • Sarah
        Posted September 3, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Egypt had Gaza but didn’t want it, and Jordan annexed the West Bank but later bequeathed it to the PLO. Nobody seems to want any of it unless they can have Israel, too.

  15. Keith Cook
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    The blame game is a dead end, it is of course to be a human to try and find solutions and here is mine. Like natural selection has done to get life up and running on this planet..it’s main ingredient being? time. More lives plus time, sad really. I, and like our host rightly claims, this wanton waste of a conflict is a long dark tunnel of a dead end.. but only for the Israelis and Palestinians.
    A lot more lives and misery are still to be spent and barring a random unforeseen event, even this could be even worse, it is and must play itself out. We cannot fix everything by being rational or fair.
    Meanwhile, diplomats feel important, the arms industry and suppliers, wheeler and dealers, drug companies, newspapers, telcos.. hell! commerce and industry love a protracted conflict (the very thing that could save the day) but they aren’t going to tell you that. Everyone is taking a slice directly or indirectly and that includes me and we all get to feel miserable about it.. thank very much.

  16. Mark Erickson
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    “would prefer the more moderate Abbas regime”
    Before the latest war, Palestinians rightly saw Abbas as a corrupt flunky of Israel who is doing just fine under occupation. (See Iron Law of Institutions). HAMAS is wildly popular right now because they resisted.

  17. Mark Erickson
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Read this to get a clearer picture of the political situation. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/sep/25/failure-gaza/

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