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Poll: Palestinians support UN bid, fear consequences

Sept. 18, 2011 4:12 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 19, 2011 5:40 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A majority of Palestinians support the bid for Palestine's membership of the UN, but expect a negative backlash, according to the results of a survey released Sunday.

While 84 percent of Palestinians support the bid, 87 percent believe the US will react negatively, and 90 percent think Israel will respond by worsening the conditions of Palestinians, the September study by Ramallah-based research institute Near East Consulting said.

Furthermore, 53 percent believe the vote will have a negative impact on the Palestinians, at least in the short term, and 70 percent are concerned about the rights of refugees.

The survey shows 67 percent think the Palestinian Authority is capable of running its affairs after a Palestinian state is recognized at the UN.

On the strategies at the UN, 47 percent said the Palestinian leadership should go to the UN Security Council for membership, 33 percent directly to the General Assembly, and 14 percent support approaching both. Just seven percent said the PA should not seek membership of the UN.

In general, 57 percent of the respondents expect that recognition of a Palestinian state will succeed, while 43 percent think that the Palestinian quest for recognition by the UN will fail.

Following the bid, 78 percent expect tensions to reduce between rival political factions Fatah and Hamas, and 58 percent think the Oslo process which established limited self-rule of the Palestinian Authority will be invalidated.

Just over three-quarters [76 percent] said they were concerned about their current situation, with the fragile economic situation the primary concern, followed by the Israeli occupation and the internal struggle between Fatah and Hamas. Nearly half [49 percent] said they do not feel secure.

On peace with Israel, 62 percent support an agreement and 57 percent want Hamas to change its stance on not recognizing Israel.

The survey said 40 percent trust Fatah, seven percent trust Hamas, and another 40 percent trust neither faction.

On the revolutions sweeping neighboring countries, 89 percent of Palestinians said they oppose the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and 44 percent said post-Mubarak Egypt was in a better situation today.

The poll was carried out in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip from July 13 - 17, and has a 3.33 percent margin of error, NEC said.
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