A new poll shows that Palestinians oppose by an overwhelming 82% to 14% the renunciation of the so-called right of return, the legally baseless demand that all Palestinian refugees of the 1948-49 war and their millions of descendants return to Israel. This opposition was expressed even if the price of maintaining the right of return was the non-conclusion of a peace agreement with Israel. The poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO), also found that, by a nearly identical margin of 82% to 13%, Palestinians would oppose the Palestinian leadership waiving the right of return in exchange for financial compensation for refugees and their descendants. It also found that Hamas is more than doubly popular in PA-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria than in Hamas-run Gaza (41% in the West Bank versus 20% in Gaza) (PCPO Poll of Palestinians – 81.8 % won’t drop right of return even if means deal breaker and no state, Hamas more popular in West Bank than Gaza, Independent Media Review Analysis, July 12, 2010).
This overwhelming level of support for the right of return is consistent with past polls:
- August 2007: A Jerusalem Media and Communications Center poll found that nearly 70% of Palestinians wanted the refugee issue resolved by return of all refugees to their original land, not a new Palestinian state (Rick Richman, What Most Palestinian Believe, New York Sun, November 12, 2007).
· February 2006: 83.3% of the Palestinian Arabs oppose dropping the legally and morally baseless so-called ‘right of return’ of refugees and their millions of descendants to Israel and reject substitute solutions to the refugee issue (Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO) poll, February 16-20, 2006).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, It is crystal clear from this poll and a great deal of other data that Palestinian society clearly opposes acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state and consistently favors by large majorities positions that indicate this support for the co-called right of return; support for terror attacks on Israelis; and opposition to an end of claims after any signed agreement, among other things.
Despite these poll results, the Obama Administration persists in claiming that Palestinians are committed to a peaceful future and seek only statehood alongside Israel. By stating the opposite of what the facts warrant, it is misleading the American public and pursuing a policy which lacks any factual basis. The consistent high levels of Palestinian public support for the so-called right of return which would see Israel destroyed by inundation of hostile Palestinian refugees and their descendants, demonstrates all too clearly that Palestinian society is not reconciled to the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state.