Palestinians ‘prefer terror and Hamas over talks’


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Israel for what he described as "justified popular unrest" among young Palestinians in a speech this week.

It appeared that Mr Abbas was reflecting public opinion. A survey published this week by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research suggested that 67 per cent of Palestinians supported the ongoing wave of terror.

Stabbing and ramming attacks occurred almost daily this week, both inside Israel's pre-1967 borders and in the West Bank.

Mr Abbas said in his speech in Ramallah that the terrorism stemmed from "the despair of young Palestinians over the lack of a political horizon for the two-state solution, the invasion of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the continuation of settlement building and military checkpoint deployment."

This despair, he said, existed because "our state doesn't exist, which is a result of the settlements and checkpoints".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman, Mark Regev, responded: "There can never be justification for wanton attacks on civilians."

Despite his show of solidarity with the Palestinian public, the survey contained little comfort for Mr Abbas who, for most of his 11 years as president, has advocated against violence and in favour of Oslo.

According to the poll, if presidential elections were held this month, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would beat Mr Abbas by 51 per cent to 41 per cent.

Sixty-eight per cent were in favour of abandoning the Oslo Accords, and half the respondents said they believed a new armed intifada would serve the Palestinians' national interests better than renewed negotiations with Israel.

Meanwhile, another sign of desperation came this week from the Obama administration.

In an interview with the New Yorker, the White House's most steadfast champion of the two-state solution, State Secretary John Kerry, said he had no idea what was going to happen with Israel and the Palestinians in the absence of a peace process.

"But the problem is, neither do they. Neither do the people who are supposed to be providing answers to this. It is not an answer to simply continue to build in the West Bank and to destroy the homes of the folks you're trying to make peace with and pretend that that's a solution."

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