Palestinians Pessimistic on Peace After Obama Visit: Survey

Palestinians Pessimistic on Peace After Obama Visit: Survey

A majority of Palestinians believe the US will fail to revive the Middle East peace process, according to a survey after Barack Obama’s visit to the region, seen by AFP on Tuesday.

The Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research’s report, conducted March 28-30, surveyed 1,270 people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

On his first visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories as president in March, Obama met leaders of both sides, and follow-up meetings with Secretary of State John Kerry signalled clear intentions to reboost the stalled peace process.

But Israel’s newly-installed government includes a number of ministers likely to strongly oppose any settlement freeze in territories occupied by Israel after the 1967 Israeli-Arab war, and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas made it clear to Obama there would be no talks without a new building moratorium.

Meanwhile, 71 percent of Palestinians were pessimistic about Washington’s move to unblock $500 million in aid to Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, saying it was not enough to address its current financial woes.

And the report also found a dramatic drop in the number of people optimistic that Gaza’s Hamas rulers could reconcile their differences with Abbas’s rival Fatah movement.

Fatah and Hamas have been at odds since the Islamist movement won a landslide general election victory in 2006, and relations took a major turn for the worse after they ousted Fatah forces from Gaza a year later.