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42% of Palestinians want an Islamic State (PMW-PALESTINIAN MEDIA WATCH) By Itamar Marcus 08/13/02)Source: http://www.pmw.org.il PMW} PALESTINIAN MEDIA WATCH PMW} PALESTINIAN MEDIA WATCH Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Results of a public opinion poll released today in the Palestinian Authority indicate the importance of Islam as a force in Palestinian society. Significantly, the youth are more supportive of the Islamic - less democratic - view of society, and more youth are against women’s participation in elections.

This swing to Islam and against democracy by the youth may be explained by the fact that only older Palestinians have had years of contact with Israelis and Israeli democracy, before the Oslo accords established the Palestinian Authority.

Another interesting finding shows the contrast between the US expectations from the political reforms it demands and the Palestinian view of those reforms. While the US media and government spokespeople have focused repeatedly to new Palestinian Authority cabinet members as a hope for positive reform, a full 81% of Palestinians can not even name one new minister. Possibly this is because 65% see the reforms as bowing to American - Israeli pressure, and a 60% intend to vote for Arafat, so that the reforms may not be, in their opinion, of much significance.

The following are the results of the public opinion poll released by Birzeit University in the Palestinian Authority.

On preference for democracy or an Islamic regime in a Palestinian state:
“42% prefer a democratic regime, in which all the political approaches are represented…
42% prefer an Islamic, single-party regime.
60% of the educated public prefer a democratic regime,
31% prefer an Islamic regime.”

On youth against women’s participation in elections: “The youth are those who most oppose women participating in elections, and their preference leans more towards the religious trends.” [Ed note: The article does not present precise data.]

On leadership qualities:
“... the most important character trait for a new Palestinian leader is the ability to confront Israel, and the second is adherence to Islam.”

On boycotting American aid and American and Israeli products:
“61% support boycotting US governmental funding agencies…
62% responded that they boycott Israeli products,
63% responded that they boycott American products…”

On reforms in the Palestinian Authority:
“91% believe that the US seeks reforms in the [Palestinian] Authority in order to achieve political goals…
65% view the reforms as giving in to the American-Israeli desire
26% are of the opinion that the reforms carried out by the [Palestinian] Authority are authentic reforms for the good of the Palestinian people…
81% do not know the name of even one of the new government Ministers…”

On preferences in coming elections:
“60% of those who intend to vote will vote for the president [Arafat],
26% will not vote for him, and
14% have not yet decided.”

End note:
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, August 13, 2002]

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