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Poll: Most Israelis Mistrust Abu Mazen (INN-ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) 01/30/05)Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=76127 INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Most Israelis do not think Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is the leader "with whom Israel can achieve a real peace agreement," according to a poll published Sunday.

Only 15 per cent of Israelis who described themselves as being moderate leftists said they definitely think peace can be made with Abu Mazen. The poll by Dialogue, published in the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper, also reveals that only 25 per cent of the "moderate right wing, the largest segment of Israel´s Jewish population, believes that Abu Mazen is a partner for peace." Arab leaders express similar distrust towards Israel.

While Israeli and international diplomatic leaders are celebrating a week-old decline in Arab terrorists attacks on Israel, the poll underscores serious obstacles to continuation of the present situation of "occasional mortar shelling" which Israel has tolerated without retaliation.

"If the Israeli government has decided to leave Gaza, why not do so immediately and immediately renew peace talk negotiations?" said PA Special Forces Colonel Bashir Nafa.

A senior PA official was blunter. "We are in no hurry. We know that we are going to get all of Gaza and northern [Samaria], so to coordinate is mostly in Israel´s interest. We want coordination to extend into diplomatic negotiations, so we´re working as if there is no such thing as unilateral separation, only the road map," he stated.

One major issue which could cause negotiations to explode are the scheduled PA parliamentary elections in the summer, at the same time Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wants to dismantle 25 Jewish communities in Gaza and northern Samaria, despite promised widespread non-violent resistance. Veteran Haaretz newspaper analyst Akiva Eldar described the dilemma under the headline "Who Believes in Abu Mazen?" The coincidence of the two events, if the Knesset approves the plan as well as the 2005 budget, could seriously disrupt both the elections and the expulsion.

Other concerns he cited are the demand that imprisoned terrorists be allowed to vote in the elections, and a wracked PA internal structure overloaded with employees from the Arafat era.

The ultimate test will be Abu Mazen´s accepting the American position denying the "right of return" to millions of Arabs and President Bush´s policy statement last year that Israel should retain control over heavily Jewish populated areas in Judea and Samaria. Abu Mazen´s tenuous agreement with terrorist groups for a "cooling down" period could quickly disintegrate if he accepts any compromises.

Eldar noted that the only reason imprisoned terrorists did not vote in the recent PA presidential elections is that the Israeli courts ruled the petition for their right to vote came too late.

Another internal problem for Abu Mazen, according to Eldar, is his recent announcement that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) represents his constituents.

"As head of the PLO, Abu Mazen is obligated to maintain his resistance to any Palestinian agreement regarding a state that does not contain permanent status guarantees. Such a position will lead to a dead end. Washington has also concluded that there is no chance to achieve an agreement with the PLO regarding the second stage of the U.S. road map plan--a temporary Palestinian state," wrote Eldar. (IsraelNationalNews © 01/30/05)

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