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News, March 2008


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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.

Most Palestinians believe Western aid encourages corruption, and foments conflict between Fateh and Hamas, a Norwegian study

Date: 15 / 03 / 2008  Time:  16:11
Bethlehem Ma'an -

Two out of three Palestinians believe that financial assistance from the West fosters corruption and foments the conflict between Fateh and Hamas.

This is one of the findings of a new report by Fafo, the Norwegian research institute that hosted secret talks between the PLO and Israel in Olso 1993 that later led to historic peace negotiations and the inception of limited self-rule in Palestine.

Fafo's researchers interviewed 4,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, between 22 February and 4 March, about the political and economic situation in the occupied territories. Most of those surveyed to not believe that aid from the West has improved conditions.

According to the study, 63% think the aid encourages corruption and that the aid does little or nothing to fight poverty. 69% percent believe financial support aggravates the conflict between Fateh and Hamas.

Fafo stresses that the economic and political situation in Palestine has worsened considerably during the past two years, a fact that the response to the survey reflects. 55% of Palestinians said their economic situation has worsened in the past six months, while 34% express that they can not afford to meet the basic needs, such as food and clothes, in the next three months.

One out of five Palestinian households includes a person who wants to leave, 20% to the West. The remaining 80% of those who want to move wish to settle elsewhere in Palestine or in other Arab countries. Only 42% believe they will get the chance to move.

The Palestinians in the survey rank the following when asked what they see as the most important issues in Palestinian politics:

1) Improvement of the Palestinian economy.
2) Reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.
3) Release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.
4) The peace process.

60% want Hamas and Fateh to enter negotiations to settle the ongoing political rift. If new elections were held today, only 22% of Palestinians would vote for Hamas, while 52% would vote for Fatah.

Just 44% support Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations, down from 77% in December 2006.

Direct negotiations between Hamas and Israel have high support among those interviewed:

84% wish Hamas and Israel would negotiate the release of prisoners.
66% wish the two parties would discuss lifting the siege on Gaza.
64% want Hamas and Israel to negotiate a long term cease-fire.
54% wish that the two sides would discuss a permanent peace.

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