Despite the eruption of bloody clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem over the weekend, support by Palestinians for armed struggle against Israel has seen an unprecedented demise over the past decade, a new poll shows.
Support for armed resistance is at a 14-year low as more and more Palestinians say they prefer using strikes, boycotts and demonstrations over rockets and suicide bombings to pursue their cause, according to a poll released by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC).
Periods of stagnation in the peace process have traditionally boosted support for armed struggle, but the pollsters said they were surprised find was that that even though virtually no peace talks have been conducted in three years Palestinians were less inclined than ever to favor violence.
“This change from high support for armed struggle to low support took as long as 11 years and this is because of their experience. The Palestinians have seen that the last wave of violent confrontation and armed resistance, the Second Intifada, wasn’t very useful to the Palestinian cause and also because the Palestinian leadership now is committed to non-violence,” Ghassan Khatib, director of Palestinian Government Media Center, told The Media Line.
According to the poll, just 29.3% of Palestinians polled today support so-called military operations against Israelis. This is down from 84.6% in September 2001 in the midst of the Second Intifada.
Ironically, the poll came as the annual Israeli intelligence assessment reportedly warned that the stalled peace process was liable to push the Palestinians to turn increasingly violent.
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