03/13/2008, 00.00
PALESTINE - ISRAEL
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The great majority of Palestinians support a truce with Israel

But a survey shows that they do not believe that peace will be reached with the Hebrew state within the next few years. Disagreement over suicide attacks, and negative views of the economic situation and personal prospects.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - The great majority of the Palestinians are in favour of a truce with Israel, although they do not believe that there will be peace with the Hebrew state within the next few years; they are mostly opposed to suicide attacks, they do not want the deployment of international forces in Gaza, although they are convinced of the importance of assistance from the United States and the European Union, they would like elections to choose a new head of the Palestinian Authority - in which case Marwan Al-Barghouti, currently in prison in Israel, would be the leading candidate - they judge their economic situation as poor, and put security at the top of their concerns.

This is the most significant information that emerges from the most recent survey, made public today and sent to AsiaNews, carried out by the Palestinian Centre for Public Opinion (PCPO), an independent body that since 1994 has studied Palestinian public opinion, directed by Nabil Kukali, a Christian, who is also a professor at Hebrew University, in Cisjordan.

The study - carried out before yesterday's killing by the Israelis of men believed to have been involved in the massacre at the rabbinical school of Jerusalem, and the launching of rockets by jihadists brought the truce into doubt - shows that 73% of Palestinians are, on various levels, in favour of the truce, and only 24.3% against.  But they do not foresee peace.  To the question "Do you think that when your children are your age, there will be peace with Israel?", only 39% responded positively in various degrees, against 60.9% who maintain, to different extents, that this will not happen.

There appear to be conflicting judgments over suicide attacks: 49.1% of the 1,220 people interviewed maintain that these do not currently serve Palestinian interests, with 40.1% asserting the opposite and 10.1% declining to answer.  To the more specific question of suicide attacks inside Israel, 49.4% maintain that these must be stopped, against the 40.2% who want them to continue and 10% not answering.

Palestinians are generally in favour (54.5%) of presidential elections, and in the case of a vote the preferences indicated are for Marwan Barghouti (24.3%), current president Mahmoud Abbas (23.1%), and former Hamas premier Ismael Haniyeh (12.4%).

Finally, the respondents give a negative judgment of the current situation.  72.6% judge the economic conditions in the Palestinian territories as "poor", and 23.1% as "mediocre"; 60.1%, moreover, say they are "pessimistic" about their future prospects.  On the personal level, the greatest concerns are for security (35.9%) and work (25.0%), but also over the future (20.3%) and health (17.5%).

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