Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Most Palestinians are in favour of indirect talks with Israel. About 60.8 per cent is in favour at various degrees in resuming indirect negotiations with Israel. A majority (62.2 per cent) is opposed to firing al-Qassam rockets from Gaza at Israel. About 72.2 per cent is against a third intifada. Most respondents trust more Fatah (53 per cent) than Hamas (15 per cent) and would vote for the Fatah candidate in case of a presidential election. These are the main results from the latest survey by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO), an independent public opinion research company that has been studying Palestinian public opinion since 1994. It is led by Nabil Kukali, a Christian, who teaches at Hebron University, in the West Bank.
A great majority of the Palestinian public backs negotiations with Israel. Most of them also think that even a temporary freeze on settlements would be helpful. In fact, 15.4 per cent said they would strongly support talks if Israel agreed to a freeze, 45.4 per cent would somewhat support them, 20.5 per cent would somewhat oppose them, and 9.0 per cent would strongly oppose them.
Generally, 15.1 per cent said they strongly support talks, 42.9 per cent somewhat support them, 20.8 per cent somewhat oppose them, 13.3 per cent strongly oppose and 7.9 per cent did not know. Overall however, support for negotiations dropped compared to a survey conducted in February 2009 when it stood at 73.6 per cent.
Most Palestinians are also against a third intifada: 72.2 per cent against, whilst only 22.8 per cent are in favour.
Similarly, most respondents oppose firing rockets into Israel with 31.6 per cent strongly opposed, 30.6 per cent somewhat opposed, 11.1 per cent strongly in favour, and 18.0 per cent somewhat in favour.
Attitudes towards negotiations appear to be reflected in confidence towards political leaders and voting preferences. Now 53 per cent of Palestinians trust the Fatah leadership compared to 15 per cent for Hamas. Significantly, 26.3 per cent said they trust neither group: 5.7 was undecided.
Almost half (49.7 per cent) of the Palestinian public is satisfied with the way Mahmoud Abbas is managing his post as Palestinian President, whilst 32.5 per cent are dissatisfied with him. Another 17.8 per cent refused to answer.
Mr Abbas leads the pack of potential candidates in the expected Palestinian presidential elections with 32.9 per cent, followed by Marwan Barghouti (13.1 per cent), who is in an Israeli jail, Hamas leader Ismael Haniyyeh (12.4 per cent), Salam Fayyad (8.2 per cent), Mohammad Dahlan (4.1 per cent), Mustapha Barghouti (2.6 per cent), Tayseer Khaled (1.2 per cent), and Mahmoud Zahhar (1.0 per cent).