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Poll: Spike in Palestinian support for military operations against Israel

Spurred by the recent Gaza conflict, continued settlement expansion, and a stalled peace process, Palestinian support for a military operation against Israel has jumped 20 percentage points in a year.

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“When you say ‘two-state solution,’ what state are you talking about?” asks Ayman Jawabreh, who wants to return to his family’s village near Lod. “I do not see it acceptable in any way for a group of people who have come from different parts of the world and based themselves in this country and call it their own…. In my opinion there is no Israeli state.”

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Classmate Mohamed Abu Shkhdem shares a similar sentiment. “Jews should go back to where they came from,” he says. “I wonder why the international community has not, since the establishment of the PA, worked hard or in any serious way toward peace.”

The deal former President Bill Clinton nearly clinched at the 2000 Camp David talks doesn't even register – Mr. Abu Shkhdem doesn’t remember it; he was nine years old. Editor's note: This sentence was edited to correctly reflect the results of the Camp David talks.

Some of the students leave open the possibility for a peaceful solution to the conflict if Israel will honor the dignity of Palestinians and their right to be here, even though they say they believe that their people deserve more than what they would be given under a two-state solution.

“Israel has acted aggressively and unfairly toward Palestinians …. Therefore I see it fair that we should be the rulers and owners of historical Palestine – the whole thing,” says Abdul Moatti Albab. “I don’t see us living side by side with Israel, because they don’t want it. However, if they accept the two-state solution, I accept them.”

Israel has blamed Abbas for the deadlock in negotiations, since he has refused to come back to the table while Israeli settlements continue to expand. But in recent days Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also expressed reservations about engaging in negotiations with the PA, since Palestinian reconciliation could give Hamas – considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the US – more of a role in Palestinian affairs.

Hamas and its secular rival, Fatah, took a big step toward reconciliation today, with as many as 1 million Palestinians turning out at a Fatah rally in Gaza today – the first such event since Hamas violently ousted Fatah from the coastal territory in 2007.

Abbas, for his part, vowed in an interview yesterday to remove what is seen by some as a fig leaf for Israeli occupation by giving Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu full responsibility for the West Bank.

"I'll tell him, 'My dear friend, Mr. Netanyahu, I am inviting you to the Muqata [the PA presidential headquarters in Ramallah],” he told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “Sit in the chair here instead of me, take the keys, and you will be responsible for the Palestinian Authority."

Editor's Note: The summary of the original article incorrectly quantified the spike in Palestinian support for a military operation against Israel. It has jumped by 20 percentage points in a year. 

* Correspondent Ben Lynfield contributed reporting.


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