Recent Polls Suggest Many Palestinians Would Accept Compromises Unthinkable to Their Leaders

In two surveys by respected pollsters of Palestinians in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, surprising numbers of respondents expressed a willingness to make necessary compromises in exchange for statehood. David Pollock writes:

[T]he data suggest that a peace plan advancing Palestinian aspirations, even at the price of major concessions, would be accepted at the popular level—despite its likely rejection by both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas. . . . Two-thirds of Gazans say Palestinians should accept that the “right of return” would not apply to Israel, but should only [allow Palestinians living abroad to settle in] the West Bank and Gaza, if that is the price of a Palestinian state. When asked about their own personal preferences, a mere 14 percent say they would “probably” want to move to Israel, even if they could. . . .

West Bankers are approximately evenly split on the suggestion that refugees not enter Israel. . . . But a mere 5 percent say they would probably move to Israel even if they could. Moreover, two-thirds would accept the permanent resettlement of diaspora Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza even if their families originated inside Israel. . . .

This essential (but rarely posed) question [in the survey] asks if a two-state solution should either (a) “end the conflict and open up a new chapter in Palestinian history,” or (b) “not end the conflict, and resistance should continue until all of historic Palestine is liberated.” West Bankers pick “end the conflict” by a sizable margin. . . . Meanwhile, Gazans are almost evenly split: 47 to 49 percent. East Jerusalem Palestinians, who maintain everyday contact with Israelis, decisively choose “end the conflict” by a margin of 73 to 22 percent.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palestinian refugees, Palestinian statehood

Yasir Arafat’s Decades-Long Alliance with Iran and Its Consequences for Both Palestinians and Iranians

Jan. 18 2019

In 2002—at the height of the second intifada—the Israeli navy intercepted the Karina A, a Lebanese vessel carrying 50 tons of Iranian arms to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). But Yasir Arafat’s relationship with the Islamic Republic goes much farther back, to before its founding in 1979. The terrorist leader had forged ties with followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that grew especially strong in the years when Lebanon became a base of operations both for Iranian opponents of the shah and for the PLO itself. Tony Badran writes:

The relationship between the Iranian revolutionary factions and the Palestinians began in the late 1960s, in parallel with Arafat’s own rise in preeminence within the PLO. . . . [D]uring the 1970s, Lebanon became the site where the major part of the Iranian revolutionaries’ encounter with the Palestinians played out. . . .

The number of guerrillas that trained in Lebanon with the Palestinians was not particularly large. But the Iranian cadres in Lebanon learned useful skills and procured weapons and equipment, which they smuggled back into Iran. . . . The PLO established close working ties with the Khomeinist faction. . . . [W]orking [especially] closely with the PLO [was] Mohammad Montazeri, son of the senior cleric Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri and a militant who had a leading role in developing the idea of establishing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) once the revolution was won.

The Lebanese terrorist and PLO operative Anis Naccache, who coordinated with [the] Iranian revolutionaries, . . . takes personal credit for the idea. Naccache claims that Jalaleddin Farsi, [a leading Iranian revolutionary], approached him specifically and asked him directly to draft the plan to form the main pillar of the Khomeinist regime. The formation of the IRGC may well be the greatest single contribution that the PLO made to the Iranian revolution. . . .

Arafat’s fantasy of pulling the strings and balancing the Iranians and the Arabs in a grand anti-Israel camp of regional states never stood much of a chance. However, his wish to see Iran back the Palestinian armed struggle is now a fact, as Tehran has effectively become the principal, if not the only, sponsor of the Palestinian military option though its direct sponsorship of Islamic Jihad and its sustaining strategic and organizational ties with Hamas. By forging ties with the Khomeinists, Arafat unwittingly helped to achieve the very opposite of his dream. Iran has turned [two] Palestinian factions into its proxies, and the PLO has been relegated to the regional sidelines.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hamas, History & Ideas, Iran, Lebanon, PLO, Yasir Arafat