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Palestinians despair of peace, focus on economy: poll
by Staff Writers
Jerusalem (AFP) July 14, 2011

Disillusioned with the prospects for a peace agreement with Israel, Palestinians are increasingly focused on improving their economic situation, according to a poll released Thursday.

Asked to name the two highest priorities for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in dealing with national questions, 83 percent named job creation and 36 percent called for expanded health care.

Only four percent said getting the United Nations to recognise a Palestinian state should be a top priority, while just two percent called for pursuing peace negotiations with Israel.

"People are focused on how to make the most of the financial situation in the context of no political developments," said American polling expert Stanley Greenberg, who supervised the poll at the request of the Israel advocacy group, the Israel Project.

The poll, which surveyed Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, asked which two steps would most help in job creation. Forty-four percent called for micro financing for starting new companies, 34 percent said Israel needed to lift more roadblocks and 21 percent wanted increased foreign aid.

Contributing to the Palestinian mood was a belief that the plan to seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations in September would not bring them closer to that objective.

Forty-four percent said the move would make no difference and another 16 percent said it could set back the goal, the poll said.

A vast majority of Palestinians also believed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not interested in peace, Greenberg said.

As a result, support for pragmatic leaders like Abbas and prime minister Salam Fayyad were on the rise, while support for Gaza's Hamas rulers was down.

Fayyad's approval rating was at 71 percent, up from 62 percent in October 2010, the survey said.

The poll involved face-to-face interviews with 1,010 adults in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and was carried out in Arabic by the Palestinian Centre for Public Opinion.

They interviewed 656 people in the West Bank and 353 in the Gaza Strip, who were unaware the poll was being conducted for a pro-Israel group. The survey has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

The poll also found that two-thirds of respondents were opposed to resuming violent confrontation with Israel, believing that it would only make their situation worse.

"The people are desperate to survive the occupation," said Greenberg.

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Palestinian leaders weigh U.N. options
Washington (UPI) Jul 12, 2011
A PLO leader said Palestinians will consider bypassing the U.N. Security Council and going directly to the General Assembly when it requests admission to the United Nations in September. The option, if accepted, would allow the Palestinians to become a non-member state in the United Nations. For full recognition, leaders are also considering acceptance by the Security Council first, whi ... read more

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