Trump’s Support of Israel Has More Palestinians Ready to Fight

Palestinians burn posters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump, during a protest against the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in Gaza City Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)

(CN) – Less than a week after President Donald Trump declared the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the embassy from Tel Aviv, a new poll released Tuesday finds more Palestinians favor taking up arms in response.

In a signal that Palestinians are giving up hope for a peaceful resolution to the 70-year-old border dispute, 45 percent believe Palestinian leaders should launch an armed resistance against Israel, cease contact with the United States and launch a formal complaint with the International Criminal Court.

Only 35 percent of Palestinians favored armed resistance in September, according to Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, which conducted the poll. The organization conducted the poll in the West Bank and Gaza Strip from Dec. 7 through Dec. 10, immediately following Trump’s announcement.

Unsurprisingly, 91 percent of those polled viewed the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as a threat to Palestinian interests. The poll reveals strong distrust of not only the United States, but Palestinian allies as well.

While the Trump administration has been preparing a peace plan for the region, 72 percent of those polled say they do not believe the White House will submit any plan.

“But even if the U.S. does submit a peace proposal, 86 percent believe that such a proposal will not meet Palestinian need to end occupation and build a state,” Shikaki said in a written statement, referring to Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Palestinians have unfavorable views of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which have participated in peace talks, due to their security ties with Israel. About 80 percent of respondents said they distrust Saudi Arabia’s part in the peace talks and 70 percent distrust Egypt’s role as well. And 72 percent said the two countries would likely accept an American plan even if it fails to meet basic Palestinian needs.

Moreover, the poll reveals Palestinians’ deepening distrust of their current government and President Mahmoud Abbas.

According to the poll, 70 percent of Palestinians want Abbas to resign. Abbas has long been a voice of peace in the region, calling for a peaceful solution with Israel despite ongoing attacks by militant groups.

Abbas cancelled a meeting on Sunday with Vice President Mike Pence as a response to the U.S. declaration, and the Palestinian Authority condemned the declaration and said it would cease all peace-related communication with Washington.

When asked about who they would vote for in a new election, 53 percent said they would vote for Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. While Hamas has walked back its earlier call for Israel’s destruction, it is still viewed as a less conciliatory party than Abbas’ Fatah party.

The poll was conducted during face-to-face interviews with 1,270 adults and has a margin of error of 3 percent.


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