Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Real Poll--For Those Who Insist On Using Unnamed Polls About Prospects For Peace In the Middle East

From an interview then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had with Cal Thomas back in October 2006:
QUESTION: I'd like to know what evidence you have — I read, and I know you do and a lot more than I do, the sermons, the editorials in the Middle East, the right of return idea, which a lot of people think is just basically overwhelming for a Jewish population with millions and millions of Arabs in the so-called Diaspora. What evidence do you have that teaching their schoolchildren at the ages of four and five to be martyrs, to show up in their little uniforms with plastic guns and their headbands, textbooks one grenade plus two grenades equals, you know, three grenades — what evidence do you have out there that if they had an independent state that they would lay down their arms and not complete the mission of killing the Jews and throwing them out?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, you can look at any opinion poll in the Palestinian territories and 70 percent of the people will say they're perfectly ready to live side by side with Israel because they just want to live in peace. And when it comes right down to it, yeah, there are plenty of extremists in the Palestinian territories who are not going to be easily dealt with. They have to be dealt with — Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian territories — they're terrorists and they have to be dealt with as terrorists. [emphasis added]
As far as I know, Rice never did reveal the name of any poll reflecting that magical 70% of Palestinians "perfectly ready" to live in peace with Israel.

On the contrary, a Pew Research Center Poll in 2007 gave a different 70%:

hat tip: Hot Air

Reaction to suicide bombers was far more extreme among Palestinian Arabs than among other Middle Eastern countries--and if you add up the number of Palestinian Arabs who believe suicide bombings were justified 'often' or 'sometimes'--you get 70% who favored the idea.

Not exactly the 70% that Rice assured us about.

Now, this past Sunday, in an op-ed in the Washington Post entitled To achieve Mideast peace, Obama must make a bold Mideast trip, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Stephen Solarz buttress their position with polls--also unnamed:
Fortunately, public opinion polls in Israel have indicated that while most Israelis would like to keep a united Jerusalem, they would rather have peace without all of Jerusalem than a united Jerusalem without peace. Similarly, although the Palestinians are divided and the extremists of Hamas control the Gaza Strip, the majority of Palestinians favor a two-state solution, and their leadership in Ramallah is publicly committed to such an outcome.[emphasis added]
Let's compare that with a poll taken this past week--done by Independent Media Review and Analysis:
A huge majority of Israelis would oppose an attempt by US President Barack Obama to impose a final-status agreement with the Palestinians, a poll sponsored by the Independent Media Review and Analysis (IMRA) organization found this week.

...Asked whether they would support Obama imposing a plan dividing Jerusalem and removing the Jordan Valley from Israeli control, 91 percent of Israelis who expressed an opinion said no and 9% said yes, according to the poll of 503 Israelis, which was taken by Ma’agar Mohot on Sunday and Monday and had a 4.5% margin of error.

Eighty-one percent said it was improper for Obama to try to force such a plan on the two sides, while 19% of those who expressed an opinion said it was proper.

The poll asked whether it would create enduring peace or enduring conflict should Jerusalem be divided, with Jewish neighborhoods remaining part of Israel and Arab neighborhoods becoming part of a Palestinian state. Eighty-four percent said conflict and 16% said peace.

...Meanwhile, a poll of Palestinians conducted on April 8-10 by the Center of Opinion Polls and Survey Studies at An-Najah University in Nablus asked Palestinians whether they would accept the creation of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders with a land exchange as a final solution for the Palestinian problem, and whether they would support or reject making Jerusalem a capital for two states.

The numbers on the two-state solution were 66.7% against, 28.3% in favor, and 5% who did not know or did not express an opinion. On the Jerusalem issue, 77.4 said they opposed such a plan, 20.8% were in favor, and 1.8% had no opinion or chose not to express it.[emphasis added]
So while Brzezinski's poll indicates 'most' Israelis "would rather have peace without all of Jerusalem than a united Jerusalem without peace," we have a real poll that shows that a whopping 84% believe that the division  of Jerusalem would actually cause conflict--not peace.

Furthermore, while Brzezinski claims that the 'majority' of Palestinian Arabs favor a two-state solution, 67% of Palestinian Arabs were actually opposed to the idea.

No wonder Brzezinski and Solarz write about a bold trip by Obama to the Middle East--it would take real chutzpah for Obama to come to a region unasked, to impose a solution that has elements so opposed by both sides that those marketing the idea are reduced to vague references to unnamed polls.

Those sorts of polls may be fine for Family Feud, but this is not a game.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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