Most Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza Believe Israel Will Go Forward With Annexation, Poll Finds

Most respondents supported the Palestinian Authority cutting ties with Israel, and are pessimistic regarding the world's possible response to annexation

Hagar Shezaf
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Demonstrators take part in a rally, organised by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), to protest against Israel's plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, in Jericho June 22, 2020.
Demonstrators take part in a rally, organised by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), to protest against Israel's plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, in Jericho June 22, 2020. Credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
Hagar Shezaf

Two thirds, 66 percent, of the Palestinians polled in the West Bank and Gaza believed that the current Israeli government will annex territory in the Jordan Valley and the settlements throughout the West Bank, according to a survey to be published on Wednesday.

The survey, in which the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Researchwhich polled 1,200 adults in 120 locations in the West Bank and Gaza, found that 28 percent of those asked believed that annexation would not take place.

When asked how the Palestinian Authority should respond to annexation if it happens, 31 percent favored returning to armed struggle, 23 percent called for a return to negotiations based on a Palestinian counter-proposal to U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan, 18 percent supported a non-violent struggle and 15 percent said the response should be to abandon the Oslo Accords and cut ties with Israel. Only 6 percent said the two-state solution should be replaced by a one-state solution.

When asked how they expected the world to respond if annexation took place, responses were pessimistic – 63 percent said they did not expect Jordan to break its peace agreement with Israel and 70 percent said that they did not expect either Jordan or Egypt to recall their ambassadors. According to the survey, the Palestinians believe they can’t rely on the Europeans – 78 percent said they did not expect European countries to impose sanctions on Israel and an equal percentage said they did not expect the Gulf States to stop their normalization process with Israel in response to annexation.

Opposition to the Trump plan reached 88 percent among respondents, while 5 percent said they favored it. When asked whether they believed that Palestinian agreement to the “deal of the century” would lead to an end to Israeli occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state, 57 percent said the chances were nil. Only 16 percent said they believed in a more than 50-percent chance of this happening.

Most of the respondents supported the PA cutting ties and ceasing security cooperation with Israel – 63 percent said they were in favor, while only 29 percent opposed it. However, 57 percent said they did not believe that the PA would really stop security coordination with Israel.

Still, a majority expressed concern over such a step. For example, 81 percent said they were worried that Israel would stop sending back tax money that it collects for the PA and as a result, the PA would not be able to pay salaries to civil servants. And 73 percent said they were concerned that people would not be able to go from Gaza or the West Bank to Israel for medical treatments, while 70 percent feared that electricity or water supplied by Israel would be cut off if ties were cut.

Just under two-thirds, 65 percent, of respondents said they were worried over a renewed outbreak of violent clashes with Israel. Half of those surveyed said they believed the PA would give in and go back to security cooperation if Israel said it intended to reassert full military control over the West Bank.

At the same time, the survey showed somewhat less of a sense of dissatisfaction with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas – 58 percent said they wanted him to resign, while in a survey four months ago, that figure was 62 percent.

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