Palestine - Strong Emotions Rise With Changing Times
January 1st, 2012, Anthony Smith

Palestine - Strong Emotions Rise With Changing Times

UNESCO’s Recognition brings hope to 66% of respondents

  • 76% of Palestinian respondents voice their vanishing hope for the next US presidential Elections
  • Qatar’s Misrepresentation of the Palestinian map upsets 82% of respondents
  • 59% of respondents see Arab Spring positively impacting the Future of Palestine
  • 331 Palestinian residents, both West Bank and Gaza, responded to the survey during the period 15 – 20 December 2011.

The recognition of the State of Palestine by UNESCO is considered a major accomplishment for Palestinians. 2 in 3 respondents (66%) feel this recognition will have a positive impact on their lives— this notion is expressed highly in the Gaza Strip (70% vs. the 61% in the West Bank). Moreover, UNESCO’s recognition is believed by 74% to increase the likelihood of a full UN membership for the State of Palestine.

While 93% feel proud about this achievement for Palestine and the Palestinians, an almost equal proportion (94%) deem UNESCO’s recognition “not enough and that Palestine still has a long way to go”. In addition 56% of respondents do not see this as a complete victory until the U.S.A. recognizes the State of Palestine.

Scepticism rose when we questioned the real motive behind UNESCO’s recognition, where half of the sample (50%) agreed to the idea of a conspiracy geared to quieten down the Palestinians demands. However, 42% trusted the genuine intentions of UNESCO’s recognition and disagreed to the above.

Two-thirds of Palestinians who participated in the survey (66%) believe that the recognition of the State of Palestine by UNESCO vindicates the policies and strategies of Mahmoud Abbas and his party Fatah.

While Hamas on the other hand had publicly expressed its disagreement with president Abbas’s bid for the recognition of the Pales- tinian State;43% of respondents expect Hamas to lean towards supporting the PalestinianAuthority in their bid.An opposing 34% of respondents were confident on Hamas holding its ground on the matter.

76% of Palestinian respondents voice their vanishing hope for the next US Elections:

Newt Gingrich’s recent comment on the Palestinians being an ‘invented people’ and could have ‘chosen to live elsewhere after 1948’ had left the majority of respondents (68%) disappointed. However, 31% were indifferent.

  • 76% of respondents also voice their vanishing hope of any US Republican presidential candidate driving and concluding an Israeli/Palestinian peace agreement.
  • 3 in 4 (75%) lack trust in the US government being truly impartial in the Israeli/Palestinian Peace negotiations.

Presidential candidates weren’t the only people thought indifferent about the future of Palestine. Results also show that 72% further believe that the average American citizen apathetic about Palestine as well. In addition, respondents feel a loss of hope in their Arab “brothers” with a large proportion 47% saying the average Arab citizen doesn’t care about the future of Palestine vs. the 35% who disagree and believe that Arab citizens still care.

Qatar’s Misrepresentation of the Palestinian map upsets 82% of respondents:

At least 4 in 5 respondents (82%) are unhappy about the recent presentation of the Palestinian state at the Pan Arab Games held in Qatar.

During the opening ceremony of the Pan Arab games in Qatar recently, Palestine was represented with an ‘incomplete’ map showing only the Gaza Strip and West Bank and omitting the remaining parts of Palestine.

However, Palestinians seem to feel the whole world is against them with 53% saying it is not Qatar’s mistake alone, that the Arab World should also be blamed for allowing this to happen. 45% see this as Qatar recognizing Israel as a country, with an equal number of respondents (45%) justifying it as Qatar protecting its own interests by ‘being diplomatic’.

Regardless of the reasons behind the mapping, Palestinians want a formal apology from Qatar (81%). A frustrated 22% think the team representing Palestine should withdraw from the Pan Arab Games and boycott them. 50% would settle with an apology otherwise they think the team should withdraw. While 20% did not seem to see any relation between the apology and staying in the games.

59% of respondents see Arab Spring positively impacting the Future of Palestine:

  • About 3 in 5 respondents (59%) have hopes about the future of Palestine being impacted positively by the Arab Spring.
  • Hope in the West Bank is slightly higher at 63% vs. that in the Gaza Strip 56%.
  • 44% see a ‘brighter’ future for Palestine as we approach the year 2012 while 25% are pessimistic and 27% are neutral.
  • Those in Gaza are the more optimistic Palestinians (52% compared to only 34% in the West Bank).

In comparison to the last 12 months where respondents were more likely to be pessimistic about the future of their country at 40% vs. 36% optimistic.This year 42% of respondents in Gaza voice their optimism towards the future, while Palestinians in the West Bank remain pessimistic.