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Palestinians Demonstrate Against Peace in Nablus

Palestinians Still Back Intifada - Poll
Israel - Middle East
Thursday, November 22, 2001
Jack Kinsella - Omega Letter Editor

Although down slightly from last month, a solid majority of Palestinians polled back continuing the war against Israel, despite the backing of the United States for a Palestinian state given by both President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell.

A majority of Palestinians polled [63.2%] don't believe that the intifada should be halted, saying the statements of support for statehood 'don't go far enough'. Those favoring continuing the war against Israel are down slightly from 75% last month.

Some Palestinians are tired of the fighting, and believe it will not help them achieve statehood, which explains the change in numbers. But many are not interested in statehood unless it replaces the Jewish state already there.

Arafat has spent the last decade educating Palestinian students to believe Israel is a usurper to their land, and many are so brainwashed now that they will accept nothing less than the annhilation of Israel.

The polls also show a solid majority of Palestinians oppose arresting militants who commit acts of terror against Israel. Every time Arafat arrests a wanted terrorist, he parades the arrest on CNN, but is forced by public opinion and popular demonstrations to release the detainee quietly the following day.

Arafat is desperate to control the violence when two US envoys tour the region next week, and has ordered the Palestinian police to step up patrols and to arrest gunmen shooting at Israeli civilian targets. He has convened a meeting of the intifada leadership to warn them that acts of violence during the US visit will play into Israel's hands.

While that is expected to curtail some of the militants, it will have little effect on those who are actively working to sabotage the ceasefire and peace efforts. Especially groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

The Palestinian Authority are trying to negate the effect of Hamas and Hezbollah activity by blaming it on 'Israeli incitement' they say is aimed at spoiling the US envoy's mission and preventing the implementation of the Mitchell Report.

The Israeli government actually favors the implementation of Mitchell, recognizing it is the only avenue toward peace, but is insisting on a week of quiet before moving forward.

Arafat cannot or will not deliver that week of peace, and Israel will not relent on their demand, saying that if Arafat can't keep peace for a week, then there is no peace to keep. And you can't make peace while your enemy continues to make war. That is not called peace. It is called surrender.

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