December 18, 2002
Most Palestinians believe suicide bombings against Israel are justified and only a
handful support ending the violent uprising that has claimed nearly 2,700 lives
on both sides, according to a poll released Wednesday.
Some 63 percent of 1,200 Palestinians surveyed said suicide bombings should
continue, and only 17 percent said they oppose the intifada, 26 months of
violence that has claimed the lives of 1,997 Palestinians and 685 Israelis.
Eighty percent said the intifada should continue.
The survey also reflected widespread disillusionment among Palestinians with
their own leadership.
An overwhelming majority – 83 percent of people surveyed – believe there is
corruption in the Palestinian Authority, and 30 percent said they do not trust
any of their leaders – more than those who identified Yasser Arafat as their
“most trusted Palestinian figure.”
Arafat was chosen by 25 percent of Palestinians, a slight decline in popularity
from September, when 28 percent of Palestinians surveyed placed him at the
top of the list.
The poll said the second-most trusted Palestinian, with 11.5 percent, is Sheikh
Ahmed Yassin, founder and spiritual leader of Hamas. Third was Marwan
Barghouti, a Fatah leader jailed in Israel, with 5 percent.
Some 56 percent of respondents said they expect Arafat to be re-elected as
chairman if democratic elections are held, a slight drop of 4 percent from September.
The survey of 1,200 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza was done by the
JMCC polling firm between Dec. 8 and 12 and has a margin of error of 3