Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Sweet Polls with the Bitter

Last December, I posted some disheartening poll numbers out of Palestine which suggested that strong majorities  opposed a two-state solution, opposed an egalitarian one-state solution even more than they opposed a two-state solution, and supported stabbing and other terrorist attacks. A new batch of polling provides better news, at least in the West Bank.

A majority of West Bank Palestinians oppose stabbing attacks on Israelis (an overwhelming majority of Gazans support them). Nearly 70% of Palestinians supported a two-state solution (Chemi Shalev observes that this figure is higher than that prevailing among Israelis) compared to a quarter favoring an egalitarian one-state solution. Moreover, they have strong negative views about both Hamas and ISIS.

Of course, one takeaway from this poll is that it matters, a lot, how one frames one's questions (something any poll expert could tell you). It also suggests deep divides between the outlook of Gaza versus West Bank Palestinians. One has to note that the blockaded Gazans are consistently more radicalized than their comparatively freer West Bank comrades, and that would seem to indicate that the blockade is a failure in its goal of breaking Hamas and creating a more hospitable atmosphere towards negotiation and co-existence. Of course, there's a chicken-and-egg problem here -- defenders of the blockade will no doubt argue that it is necessary because Gaza is a hotbed of radicalism and terrorism -- but to me that is an indicator that the blockade's success is an unfalsifiable proposition.

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