Diplomacy

Poll: Most Palestinians Say ‘No’ to Return to Peace Talks

A month after the breakdown of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian leadership after the latter signed a deal with Hamas, a poll was published today suggesting more than 50 percent of Palestinians are against a return to the negotiating table.

The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion survey indicated that 56.3% were against talks, with 59.1% of those questioned believe the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation will succeed. A plurality (44.9%) told the polling company they favor the break-up of separate security apparatuses in Gaza and the West Bank and the formation of a single independent security force.

The poll was conducted from June 2-9 among 1,000 people in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and Gaza, with a 3% margin of error.

The survey was published on the day reports emerged of disunity impacting on the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation.

A leader from the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas accused President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party on Tuesday of jeopardising a reconciliation deal, just a week after a unity government was formed to end their feuding.

Problems between the two sides surfaced just days after the new administration took office, when it failed to pay some 40,000 civil servants hired by Hamas in Gaza, saying the employees had to be vetted before receiving their salary.

Angry police loyal to Hamas in the Gaza Strip ordered the closure of all banks in the coastal enclave until the issue was resolved, dealing a fresh blow to an already sickly economy.

The tensions shifted to the nearby West Bank on Monday, when Hamas said that security forces loyal to Abbas had used violence to break up a rally organised by the movement and had assaulted senior Islamist leader Hassan Youssef.

[Photo: The Israel Project]