Saturday, July 04, 2009

PA Arabs in Late Response to Obama Speech: No, We Can't

Maayana Miskin

( A poll released this week showed that PA Arabs are reluctant to grant rights to Jews or Christians within areas demanded for a PA state. A survey conducted by the Arab World for Research and Development among 1,200 Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza found that did not feel Jerusalem should be shared with Jews and Christians. When asked to what extent they agreed with a statement made by United States President Barack Obama that Jerusalem should be “a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims,” less than 17 percent said they agree, while 20 percent said they “somewhat agree.” More than 42 percent said they disagree with the statement, while 17 percent “somewhat disagree.”

Reject violence? No thanks
More than 45 percent of those surveyed disagreed with a second statement of Obama's in which the president called on the Arab world to reject violence and killing as a means of struggle. Twenty-two percent did not give an answer, while the remainder said they “agree” or “somewhat agree” with the statement.

The poll showed that PA Arabs were pessimistic regarding Obama's speech to the Arab world in early June. More believed that Obama's visit to the region would strengthen Israel, increase restrictions on Gaza, and do nothing to promote negotiations than believed the opposite. Only 14.2 percent said they fully agreed that Obama is serious when he calls for the creation of a PA state.

Jews want rights as minority in PA
Another new poll showed that most Israeli Jews believe that any future Palestinian Authority-led Arab state in Judea and Samaria should provide Jews with equal rights, including the right to live freely in its territory. The statistic was revealed Thursday by a Maagar Mochot poll published by the Independent Media Review and Analysis.

Fifty-eight percent of the 506 Israeli Jews surveyed said they believed Israel should insist that any future PA state respect the right of Jews to live in its territory. Thirty-one percent believed Israel should not insist that Jews be allowed to live in a PA state.

Roughly 300,000 Jews reside in Judea and Samaria, and approximately 250,000 more live in Jerusalem neighborhoods demanded by the PA. The views exposed by the Maagar Mochot poll are at odds with government policy, which has been to forcibly remove Jews from PA areas in line with PA demands that any future Arab state in Judea and Samaria be rid of the current Jewish minority.

An even larger majority of those polled believed that Israel should insist that the PA commit to allowing Jews full access to Jewish holy sites in Judea and Samaria, including those considered holy by Muslims as well. Eighty-two percent said Israel should insist on access to holy sites, while only 11 percent said Israel should not make such a demand.

Indicator of national dignity
Jewish holy sites in Judea and Samaria include the Tomb of the Patriarchs (Me'arat Hamachpelah) in Hevron, Joseph's Tomb in Shechem, and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem. Jews are currently allowed full access only to the latter site, while the Tomb of the Patriarchs is split into Jewish and Muslim sections, and Jews are allowed to visit Joseph's Tomb only intermittently.

While a narrow majority of respondents said Israel should negotiate with the PA without preconditions, most said Israel should insist on Jewish rights during the negotiation process.

More than 60 percent of those polled said that demanding Jewish rights under PA rule was an indicator of national dignity. Israeli leaders who fail to demand freedom of residence and access to holy sites for Jews lack self-respect, they said.

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