IMRA'S WEEKLY COMMENTARY ON ISRAEL NATIONAL RADIO - 24 July 2003
Aaron Lerner Date: 24 July 2003
#1 What The PSR Poll Really Means
Polls have taken a major role in the promotion of various schemes and
programs relating to the Arab Israeli conflict. And because of their great
PR potential, there is tremendous temptation to design or present poll
results in ways that promote a given scheme or program even if this means
providing a skewed view of the reality being studied.
The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) survey of
Palestinian refugees conducted by PSR in January 2003 in the West Bank and
Gaza Strip, by the Center for Strategic Studies at Jordan in May 2003, by
Statistics Lebanon Company in June 2003 is a case in point.
While selected published results of these PSR polls have received
considerable attention over the past weeks to support the assertion that the
right of return of Palestinian refugees is not a "deal breaker" and thus
true peace between Israel and the Palestinians is within reach, Question 9,
that was not mentioned in the press releases, tells a very different story.
Question 9: Are there conditions under which you could accept coexistence
with Israeli Jews in peace and security?
Palestinian refugees in West Bank and Gaza:
Yes 20.3% No 79.1% Don't know 0.7%
Palestinian refugees in Jordan:
Yes 9.7% No 85.5% Don't know 4.7%
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon:
Yes 18.7% No 77.8% Don't know 3.5%
[Arabic provided to IMRA by PSR and translated for IMRA by MEMRI]
It should be noted that Question 9, that shows that the overwhelming
majority of Palestinian refugees do not believe that there are conditions
under which they could accept coexistence with Israeli Jews in peace and
security, was asked after the pollsters asked the respondents about a
variety of peace arrangements. Even after being reminded of the various
proposals being promoted by various groups, the refugees don't see any
possible deal that they could accept.
The source of the confusion over the significance of the other PSR results
is that the pollsters asked refugees what option they would chose under
various scenarios - not if they would consider these scenarios to constitute
an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Taken in isolation, the fact that
refugees chose between options in scenarios might be confused for acceptance
of the scenarios as a "final solution".
A more appropriate way to view the sruvey results is within the context of
the PLO program for the replacement for Israel in "stages". Under the
program of stages, it is acceptable to temporarily agree to the
establishment of a Palestinian state that does not replace Israel when the
option of replacing Israel is not yet in the cards. Emphasis on "not yet",
since the ultimate goal remains the replacement of Israel.
When the much touted PSR results are viewed as the choices Palestinian
refugees would make during a temporary interim stage rather than as a
permanent choice, the significance of the findings and their public policy
ramifications are magnitudes smaller than press reports and commentators
made them out to be.
Politicians, diplomats and academics notwithstanding, the Arab Israeli
conflict is not a problem waiting to be solved with some elegantly worded
formula for Israeli withdrawal to indefensible borders shared with a
#2 Israeli Security Officials
Israeli and Palestinian security authorities are negotiating a deal under
which terrorists wanted by Israel would be granted immunity in exchange for
commitments by the Palestinian Authority that the wanted suspects would not
be involved in new terrorist acts or attacks on IDF troops. It is proposed
that the terroriss be integrated into the PA security forces.
This is not a parody. This was reported by Haaretz Correspondent Arnon
Regular in the 24 July edition.
The very same Israeli security officials who know that the terrorists are
busily preparing to renew attacks against Israel at the end of the "hudna",
the very same officials who can open up the New York Times and read Abu
Mazen declaring to the world that he has no intention to actually act
against the terror infrastructure - and the very same security officials
who, in the role of apologists for Abu Mazen explain that his security
forces might not accept orders to act against terrorists - suggest that the
terrorists be let alone in return for a PA promise that they won't act again
and that terrorists be integrated into the PA security forces.
OK. I know this may be tough. It may be a challenge for those security men
who suffer from ADD and thus have a 12 hour planning horizon. [Then again,
previous senior security officials may not have thought ahead for Israel but
managed to think ahead about their future business relations with the
Palestinians they were working with while they were still working for the
But 1+1=2. If they really think that the PA can't act against terror because
there is a problem in the ranks of the PA security forces, what will be the
impact of adding even more terrorists to these forces?
#3 Abu Mazen Calls Bush's Bluff?
Days before visiting Washington PA PM told the New York Times that " his
security forces would not raid houses for weapons."
[Abbas Sums Up Vision for a Palestinian State By JAMES BENNET The New York
Times July 20, 2003
And this Monday the PA's own official website reported that "In Cairo
Monday, Abbas said that a crackdown on anti-Israeli occupation activists and
groups was out of the question."
But all of this is required in Phase I of the Roadmap.
"Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins
sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those
engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and
infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and
consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and
corruption." - Phase I - Full official text - Roadmap
And Washington esentially ignores all this.
Foreign Minister Shalom claims that PA PM Abu Mazen hasn't internalized the
need to act agaisnt the terrorist.
It would appear that the truth is that Abu Mazen has internalized that
President Bush is not serious about the need to destroy the Palestinian
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
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