Palestinians are more disillusioned than ever about the prospect of an independent Palestinian state and about Western support.
Even before the discriminatory Jewish Nation-State vote of the Israeli Knesset on July 19, an average of 65% of Palestinian respondents said they were drifting “further away from their dream of establishing an independent state,” a poll conducted July 7-10 by the Ramallah-based Arab World for Research and Development stated.
Palestinian disillusionment has lasted through decades of catastrophic violence and promises of peace deals.
The US administration has yet to unveil its peace plan regarding the Palestinian issue but the Palestinians are not holding much hope. Already, 70% of them said the so-called Deal of the Century (as the expected US plan has come to be known) will “end the dream of achieving an independent Palestinian state.” Only 3.5% said they share the view that it would lead to a “just resolution of the Palestinian issue.”
About 80% of the Palestinians asked said the decisions of Western donor countries, such as the United States and Australia, to cease aid to the Palestinian Authority and to Palestinian refugees are designed to compel Palestinian leaders to accept the deal.
Half of the poll respondents said such pressures could lead to the “end of the Palestinian Authority and return to chaos.” About 48% said it would lead to an “armed intifada.”
What adds to gloomy prospects regarding a solution to the problem are the deeply divided ranks of the Palestinians. They are evenly split between those who support “the resumption of peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis” and those who would advocate for the “renewal of armed conflict.” Larger percentages of respondents in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip share confrontationist views.
The continuation of the Palestinians’ despair lends itself to exploitation by extremists of all shades. More than ever, a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli problem is needed. A peace formula, however, will have to take into consideration the Palestinians’ irreversible yearning for statehood and dignity.