Richard J. Annen
Director, Center for Conflict Resolution Strategies

Palestinians Support a Two-State Solution Without Hamas – The PSR Opinion Poll

This is the fourth in a series of posts originating with the “Blueprint for an Imposed Peace to End the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” (the “Blueprint”).

In my last post, we examined the November 14, 2023, public opinion poll titled “Gaza Survey 7th October,” conducted by the Arab World for Research & Development. In this Post, we examine Public Opinion Poll No. 90 conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) between November 22 and December 2, 2023, and issued on December 13, 2023 (the “Poll”).

The Poll included adult residents in the West Bank (750) and Gaza (121). While there are many reasons to question the validity of the Poll (including only 121 residents of Gaza; no information as to the age of the respondents; the conditions under which the Poll was taken – the respondents from Gaza were in shelters; the failure to ask “yes” or “no” questions to gain an understanding of the respondents knowledge of facts; etc.), it does give some limited insight as to how Palestinians view the future that is not found in the AWRAD Survey and confirms some AWRAD findings.

PSR summarizes their Poll as follows: “Wide public support for Hamas’ offensive on October the 7th, but the vast majority denies that Hamas has committed atrocities against Israeli civilians. The war increases Hamas’ popularity and greatly weakens the standing of the PA and its leadership; nonetheless, the majority of the Palestinians remain unsupportive of Hamas. Support for armed struggle rises, particularly in the West Bank and in response to settlers’ violence, but support for the two-state solution rises somewhat. The overwhelming majority condemns the positions taken by the US and the main European powers during the war and express the belief that they have lost their moral compass.”

PSR makes a key disclosure on the issue of Hamas atrocities: “The overwhelming majority of respondents say that they have not seen videos from international or social media showing atrocities committed by Hamas members against Israeli civilians that day, such as the killing of women and children in their homes. Indeed, more than 90% believe that Hamas fighters did not commit the atrocities contained in these videos [Questions: Were they shown the videos? Did they think the videos were fabricated? Etc.]. When asked what is or is not allowed in war, under international humanitarian law, the findings indicate that the vast majority believes that attacking or killing civilians in their homes is not permissible. The majority (except in the Gaza Strip) also believe that taking civilians as hostages or prisoners of war is also not permissible.”

The fact that 90% of those polled do not believe that Hamas fighters committed atrocities on October 7, 2023, shows they are uninformed, lying, or are so indoctrinated that they choose to remain naïve as to the actions of Hamas. While they are against killing civilians in their homes, the Poll did not ask about killing Israeli civilians nor was there anything in the Poll indicating that respondents expressed any concern about Israeli civilians being killed in their homes by Hamas rocket attacks. A poll conducted by PSR in June 2023, Poll No. 88, found that 41% of Palestinians did not even believe that Hamas participated in recent rocket attack confrontations with Israel, with only 13% believing that Hamas participated fully alongside Islamic Jihad.

But, arguably the most important finding is that 43% believe that the first most vital Palestinian goal should be to end Israeli occupation in the areas occupied in 1967 and build a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Overall, the Poll is supportive of the following conclusions:
a. The Palestinians of Gaza are ready for
governance by other than Hamas.
b. They favor a two-state solution but don’t believe that
such is achievable.
c. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as their capital if a
two-state solution is achieved.
d. The Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas continue
to be viewed as corrupt and untrustworthy.
e. Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank must end.
f. Establishing a democratic political system that
respects freedoms and rights of Palestinians is not a
priority, let alone a high priority.
g. If a Palestinian state is created with the West Bank,
Gaza, and East Jerusalem, Palestinians might learn to
conduct themselves in a manner to maintain their
country and learn to coexist with Israel.

The Poll (like the AWRAD poll) identifies the untenable position held by most Palestinians that if Hamas survives, it has a role in the future governance of Gaza (i.e., a unity government). This untenable position seems incomprehensible given that the daily lives of the Palestinians in Gaza have only worsened under Hamas rule, and significantly so with each war Hamas provokes with Israel. This position speaks to Hamas’ very effective indoctrination its subjects and the continued distrust of the Palestinian Authority and Abbas. Consequently, they see a unity government as their best available option. The Blueprint for Peace (see my first post) provides that alternative form of governance through an Alliance-administered Trust holding the new Palestinian state, leading to democratic Palestinian self-governance as a Protectorate of the Alliance.

Israel has long correctly determined that peace cannot be negotiated with a terrorist organization purporting to represent the Palestinian people of Gaza (not to be confused with negotiating for the release of hostages). It has also determined that another ceasefire with Hamas left intact, will simply continue the cycle of increasing violence for both the Israelis and Palestinians, as the rest of the world sits on the sidelines and watches and waits for the next day of carnage.

Israel has been paying for its strategic blunder to abandon Gaza to the Palestinian Authority in 2005 and the opportunistic Hamas in 2007. Similarly, the Palestinians of Gaza have been paying for choosing to be governed by a terrorist organization (which speaks to the level of corruptness of the PA). October 7, 2023, marked the beginning of the end of that payment for both Israel and the Palestinians.
Every peace-seeking nation and organization (i.e., the UN) shares the blame for allowing a terrorist organization to take control of Gaza and become “institutionalized,” as such affords a level of “legitimacy” for a terrorist-criminal organization, for which there is none. Hamas recognizes this fact and that is why its “gameplan” will always include taking hostages. Only the Israelis have the power and means to eliminate Hamas. October 7, 2023, gave them the will to do so. It is only with Hamas’ elimination, that both Israel and the Palestinian people can receive the reward of peace and the end of the Conflict. The Blueprint is their path. The Alliance is the key to unlocking the door to peace.

About the Author
Richard J. Annen is the Director of the Center for Conflict Resolution Strategies (CCRS) located in San Diego, California. CCRS's mission is to analyze real world human conflicts, crisis, and problems and develop detailed, fact-based, implementable resolution strategies. Prior to establishing CCRS, Mr. Annen was a board-certified trial attorney specializing in business litigation. Mr. Annen received his Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of Notre Dame.
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