Friday, July 16, 2010

It's Easier To Be Optimistic About Mideast Peace If You Ignore Palestinian Polls

Ignoring Mideast polls been going on for so long that it is becoming an art form. Ranging from Condoleezza Rice to Zbigniew Brzezinski back in April, polls have been ignored or have been referred to unnamed--only to be contradicted with the results of real named polls.

This week, Morton Klein of ZOA issued a press release that contradicts Obama's talk about progress towards peace between the PA and Israel:

A new poll shows that Palestinians oppose by an overwhelming 82% to 14% the renunciation of the so-called ‘right of return,’ the legally baseless demand that all Palestinian refugees of the 1948-49 war and their millions of descendants return to Israel. This opposition was expressed even if the price of maintaining the ‘right of return’ was the non-conclusion of a peace agreement with Israel. The poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO), also found that, by a nearly identical margin of 82% to 13%, Palestinians would oppose the Palestinian leadership waiving the ‘right of return’ in exchange for financial compensation for refugees and their descendants. It also found that Hamas is more than doubly popular in PA-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria than in Hamas-run Gaza (41% in the West Bank versus 20% in Gaza) (‘PCPO Poll of Palestinians - 81.8 % won't drop right of return even if means deal breaker and no state, Hamas more popular in West Bank than Gaza,’ Independent Media Review Analysis, July 12, 2010).

This overwhelming level of support for the ‘right of return’ is consistent with past polls:

  • August 2007: A Jerusalem Media and Communications Center poll found that nearly 70% of Palestinians wanted the refugee issue resolved by return of all refugees to “their original land,” not a new Palestinian state (Rick Richman, ‘What Most Palestinian Believe,’ New York Sun, November 12, 2007). 
·        February 2006: 83.3% of the Palestinian Arabs oppose dropping the legally and morally baseless so-called 'right of return' of refugees and their millions of descendants to Israel and reject substitute solutions to the refugee issue (Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO) poll, February 16-20, 2006).
The whole idea of a right of return is a non-starter, not only because of the impracticality of the idea demographically, but also because it ignores the history behind the what led the Arabs to leave in the first place. Be that as it may, for the Arabs to insist on this issue, as Klein points out, goes to the whole question of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

Even putting aside the fact that Abbas continues to incite Arabs in the West Bank against Israel, these Arabs themselves are simply not ready now to talk peace.

Also check out Elder of Zion, who juxtaposes this poll with the broader picture of the failure of the PA to work towards peace.

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