Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

politics

90% of Palestinians Call U.S. Too Biased Toward Israel, Poll Says

  • U.S. ‘deconstructing, dismantling, destroying’ peace: Ashrawi
  • Israeli PM praises Trump decision to close PLO’s U.S. office

The West Bank’s leading pollster found a small group of Palestinians willing to give President Donald Trump’s approach to Middle East peacemaking a chance.

The other 90 percent interviewed by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research agreed with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that the Trump administration is hopelessly biased in Israel’s favor. Six percent said the billionaire American leader could be an honest peace broker. Two-thirds reject an idea, reportedly being considered by Trump’s peace team, for the West Bank and Gaza Strip to become part of a confederation with Jordan.

The poll of 1,270 Palestinians was released a day before the 25th anniversary of the landmark Oslo peace accords that Israeli and Palestinian leaders signed at the White House. Efforts to bridge the conflict have slumped to one of the lowest points since the 1993 agreement after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December and moved the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Trump also has cut financial support to the Palestinian Authority, slashed aid to the United Nations agency serving Palestinian refugees and proposed changing the criteria for refugee status in a way that would reduce the rolls to about 500,000 refugees, down from 5 million.

The White House actions are “deconstructing, dismantling, totally destroying all the components of peace,” Palestine Liberation Organization official Hanan Ashrawi told reporters Wednesday in Ramallah.

This week, the Trump team announced it was closing the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington over what it described as Palestinian leaders’ refusal to engage seriously in peace efforts. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the U.S. for its “correct decision.”

Ashrawi said the Palestinian leadership was weighing its options, including ending security discussions with the U.S. Asked if the peace process was at its lowest point since Oslo, she went back further, to the time of Israel’s birth: “This is the lowest point since 1948,” she said.

— With assistance by Michael Arnold