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What the Palestinian Street Wants

Samara Greenberg

According to a poll conducted this month by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, more Arab East Jerusalemites prefer to become citizens of Israel than citizens of a future Palestinian state, with 35 percent choosing Israel and 30 percent choosing the future state. The remaining 35 percent either declined to answer or said they didn’t know.

Moreover, according to the poll, 42 percent of respondents said they would move to a different neighborhood in order to remain under Israeli rule if need be. As for their reasoning, the participants said they would prefer Israeli citizenship as it comes with greater freedom of movement, higher income, more employment opportunities, and better social benefits. In addition, more than half of the respondents said they are concerned about corruption and the safety of their freedom of expression under Palestinian rule.

In another recent poll (Poll No. 179) conducted by the same organization, when asked: “Which, in your opinion, is the preferable option for the future of Palestine? Is it going to the United Nations for the recognition of the Palestinian state without concluding a peace agreement with Israel, or going back to the negotiation table with the Israelis for the sake of a permanent peace with them and then resort to the UN?”, 35.4 percent chose the former and 59.3 the latter, while 5.3 percent said “I don’t know.”

The Palestinian leaders in both Gaza and the West Bank either don’t understand their people, or are intentionally going against the population’s desires for political or personal reasons. While Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today prepares to ask the UN to recognize a Palestinian state in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, it is interesting to note that a majority of Palestinians don’t approve of his bid at the UN and a majority of East Jerusalem’s Arabs prefer to live under Israeli authority.