The poison of occupation

A disturbing but unsurprising poll result:

A new poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians support the attack this month on a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem that killed eight young men, most of them teenagers, an indication of the alarming level of Israeli-Palestinian tension in recent weeks.

The survey also shows unprecedented support for the firing of rockets on Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip and for the end of the peace negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

The pollster who conducted the survey, Khalil Shikaki, said he was shocked because it showed greater support for violence than any of the surveys he had conducted over the past 15 years in the Palestinian areas. Never before, he said, had a majority favored an end to negotiations or the firing of rockets at Israel.

“There is real reason to be concerned,” Shikaki said in an interview at his West Bank office. His Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, which conducts a survey every three months, is widely viewed as among the few independent and reliable gauges of Palestinian public opinion.

After decades of occupation and Israeli repression, and years of failed “peace talks”, an increasing number of Palestinians now believe that armed struggle is the only way to get results. Violence should be condemned on all sides, but we must try and understand why many disadvantaged groups support it.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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