Most Palestinians Want to Cooperate with Israel to Fight the Coronavirus

April 1, 2020 | David Pollock
About the author: David Pollock is the Kaufman fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where he directs the Fikra Forum blog and the Arabic website.

Examining recent survey data, David Pollock comments on Palestinian perceptions of the current pandemic:

A reliable Palestinian . . . poll taken last week shows that two-thirds of the public in the West Bank, Gaza, and eastern Jerusalem state their support for “cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians to prevent the spread of coronavirus.” This proportion is significantly higher than the roughly half of the Palestinians who reported supporting economic cooperation with Israel in another poll conducted by the same organization as recently as mid-February.

At the same time, however, the new poll demonstrates the lure of conspiracy theories surrounding this plague: 47 percent of Palestinians reported that they “believe a foreign power or other force is deliberately causing the spread of coronavirus.” The other half (51 percent) say it is “a natural mutation.”

[T]he Palestinian public gave local authorities fairly good marks for handling this crisis so far, which can help explain the relatively calm situation there. Two-thirds rated the performance of their public-health authorities as “very good” (24 percent) or “good” (43 percent). A narrower majority said the same about “the performance of the security services in controlling matters and not causing panic and fear among the Palestinian public at present”: 23 percent categorized the performance as “very good,” along with 39 percent who say just “good.”

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