Monday, September 12, 2005

Palestinians More Concerned Over Unempoyment Than Over Israeli Occupation

According to the poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between September 7-9, 2005, 40% of Palestinians find unemployment the most serious problem, 25% are concerned over the Israeli occupation, and the same 25% worry about corruption.

The same poll indicates that 62 percent of Palestinians are against the continuation of attacks against Israel, and 73 percent would like to see a Palestinian state in with the 1967 lines as its borders that would start first in the Gaza Strip and gradually extend to the West Bank.

Source: AMIN

These are very interesting numbers, but at the same time they aren't saying much about the future of the Palestinian-Israeli relations. 62% of Palestinians are for peace? It's nice, but nearly 40% are against it. Even if only one third of the population takes part in the future intifada (in case it starts again), there will be no shortage of potential suicide bombers for HAMAS and Islamic Jihad.

In the year 2000 in Camp David Israel offered exactly what the 73% of the Palestinian society aspire for, yet the offer was rejected, and the Intifada Al-Aqsa broke out. One can argue that Arafat made his decision to leave Camp David without consulting his people, and that's true. There's even more. Though the violence had been planned well in advance, Marwan Barghouti found it difficult to organize trouble on the day when Sharon visited the Temple Mount:

"I knew that the end of September was the last period (of time) before the explosion, but when Sharon reached the al-Aqsa Mosque, this was the most appropriate moment for the outbreak of the intifada....The night prior to Sharon's visit, I participated in a panel on a local television station and I seized the opportunity to call on the public to go to the al-Aqsa Mosque in the morning, for it was not possible that Sharon would reach al-Haram al-Sharif just so, and walk away peacefully. I finished and went to al-Aqsa in the morning....We tried to create clashes without success because of the differences of opinion that emerged with others in the al-Aqsa compound at the time...." Al-Hayat, September 29, 2001

However, the intifada began and became possibly the bloodiest war in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Now, in the year 2005, both the political and economic conditions are much worse that five years ago and are less than likely to produce solid grounds for peace.

Firstly, Israel obviously isn't going to offer again it's "royal gift" of the year 2000. This means that the famous Arafat's slogan "hatta l-Quds" ("until Jerusalem") remains applicable.

Secondly, the economic conditions in the Palestinian Authority have deteriorated since the year 2000 and will only produce more unemployed, disillusioned youth who will see the new intifada as the only way out.

Thirdly, years of conflict and anti-Israeli and anti-Western jihadist propaganda have raised the new generation of extremists who don't know how to negotiate but know how to blow themselves up with the maximum effect.

Thus the only possible conclusion is that a new war is inevitable, and Israel has to think ahead to prepare itself for the new battle.

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