Middle East Monitor / May 15, 2023
953 Palestinian respondents were asked their opinions on a range of topics from the economy to political leadership.
A new survey published today has found that the majority of Palestinians favour mediation by China and Russia in potential peace talks with Israel.
The survey conducted by YouGov earlier this month at the request of Arab News, showed that the Palestinians’ most preferred mediator was Russia, followed by the EU and China. The US, by contrast, was seen as the least favourable choice.
Reacting to the results, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said it was “Because Russia has not betrayed those who pinned their hopes on it.”
The Information and Press Department (IPD) of the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow continues to believe that “the existing international legal framework, the Arab peace initiative in Al-Taif and the groundwork that has been achieved between Israelis and Palestinians throughout the negotiation process on the basis of (a) two-state solution can serve as a foundation for resuming direct negotiations between the parties to the conflict.”
“Our position is clear, unchangeable and not subject to political conjuncture,” the IPD added. “We are constantly talking about this to our Palestinian friends and the Israeli side as well.”
Despite the EU being the second choice, its lack of unity, it is argued, undermines its potential role as an honest broker. In third place, China was the preferred peace-broker by 80 per cent of the respondents. This trend follows Beijing’s successful role as a mediator between regional arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, who agreed to restore diplomatic relations in March. Last month, China also announced its intention to help facilitate peace talks between Israel and Palestine.
The US, which has an established role as a mediator between Israel and Palestine, has long been seen as biased towards the apartheid state in its policies and practices. According to the survey, almost 60 per cent of participants said they did not trust the US to mediate in the conflict, while 86 per cent believed that Washington had significant influence over Israel.
Director of the London-based Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU), Chris Doyle, was quoted by Arab News as saying that “Palestinians have never seen the US as a neutral or fair broker,” adding that “the (Palestinian) leadership has tolerated the US because, quite simply, as the world’s sole superpower for many years, (they) have had no choice.”
“The U.S. overtly states that it is pro-Israel, that it has a strategic alliance with the State of Israel, it routinely passes pro-Israel resolutions in Congress, and, of course, vetoes attempts to pass Security Council resolutions critical of the State of Israel and its conduct,” the expert added.
Of the 953 Palestinian respondents, 63 per cent also said no political faction represented them and 86 per cent believe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition was not serious about a peace deal. More than 50 per cent believe the Abraham Accords, which saw Arab states normalizing ties with Israel in 2020, had made the occupation state more aggressive against Palestinians.