Saturday, March 24, 2007

Contact Palestinian Government, Say Israelis

Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & Research
March 24, 2007

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Many adults in Israel believe their government should talk with the new Palestinian administration, according to a poll by Maagar Mochot released by Israel Radio. 52 per cent of respondents think Israel should have day-to-day contacts with the Palestinian unity government.

Fatah member Mahmoud Abbas won the January 2005 Palestinian Authority presidential ballot with 62.32 per cent of all cast ballots. In January 2006, Hamas—an organization listed as "terrorist" by several countries including the United States, Canada and Israel, and the European Union (EU)—won the Palestinian Legislative Council election, securing 74 of the 112 seats at stake. After negotiations geared at establishing a unity government with Hamas and Fatah failed in October 2006, tensions escalated between armed supporters of the two rival factions.

On Feb. 8 in Saudi Arabia, Hamas and Fatah leaders reached an accord which sets the guidelines for a power-sharing administration, headed by Hamas, which would "respect" past peace agreements with Israel. In all, Hamas would control eight cabinet positions, with Fatah taking five. Three key portfolios—finance, interior and foreign affairs—will be handled by independents.

On Mar. 17, the Palestinian unity government presented its program, which does not include an explicit recognition of Israel. Yesterday, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger discussed the EU’s views on the new administration, saying, "The EU is prepared to cooperate with the Palestinian government of national unity insofar as it reflects the Quartet criteria in its statements and its actions. (...) We believe we should approach this issue calmly and observe how the new government acts in the days and weeks ahead."

The four preconditions—disarming, recognizing Israel, rejecting terror and changing the organization’s charter—were proposed by the European Union (EU), the United States, the United Nations (UN) and Russia to Hamas.

Polling Data

Should the government of Israel have day-to-day contacts with the Palestinian unity government?





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Source: Maagar Mochot / Israel Radio
Methodology: Interviews with 534 Israeli adults, conducted on Mar. 21, 2007. Margin of error is 4.5 per cent.

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