Most Palestinians do not trust Israel, sceptical about renewed relations

A survey by the PCPO, a research institute led by Nabil Kukali, a Christian, shows that 81 per cent do not trust Israel "to various degrees”, 59 per cent oppose re-establishing relations, and 52 per cent are hostile to peace negotiations. The “bad” economic situation is the motive for those who support renewed cooperation with Israel.

Jerusalem AsiaNews) – A poll among Palestinians shows that most of them neither trust nor believe the promises made by the Israeli government, which has said that it will respect all the agreements signed with the Palestinian Authority (PA). At the same time, a majority thinks that one day, they will have a "sovereign and independent" state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO), which is led by its founder, a Palestinian Christian, Nabil Kukali, a former professor of statistics at the University of Hebron, released the results of its latest survey (n. 206) on Monday.

The poll focused on the decision of Palestinian leaders to renew relations with Israel, which they had broken off after Israel’s decision to annex 30 per cent of the West Bank with the support of the now outgoing Trump administration.

The survey was carried out between 19 and 22 November with 516 respondents from various age groups and social backgrounds, in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

The results point to a split over renewed cooperation with Israel over security issues, with more people oppose to it.

Overall, 81 per cent of the Palestinians do not trust to various degrees Israel’s commitment to the agreements signed with the PA. About 59 per cent are against it and 39 per cent are in favour.

Some 55 per cent are against to security coordination, whilst 40 per cent believe that it is the right decision.

Finally, 52 per cent are hostile against resuming peace negotiations with Israel, compared to 43 per cent who consider it an important step for the whole region.

The Christian scholar vetted in particular the reasons for support of resuming relations with Israel.

About 26.9 per cent are in favour of relations with Israel to improve “the economic situation”, 9.4 per cent for “peace and stability”, 16.9 per cent for “permits and work in Israel”, whilst 8.8 per cent back the decision so that the siege of Gaza might be lifted and border-crossings with the Strip reopened.

For Palestinians are concerned with the state of the economy: 61 per cent see their situation as "bad", 32 per cent as "fair", and only 7 per cent consider it "good".

For Nabil Kukali "behind the courageous step" of the Palestinian Authority to re-establish relations, "there is a letter from the Israeli government addressed to the PA confirming its willingness to abide by all the agreements signed with the PA".

However, “the majority of the Palestinian people, in this poll, expressed [. . .] their mistrust of Israel’s intentions, as its actions on the ground speak another language.”