TIP Arabic Director: Palestinians Don’t Want to Threaten Prosperity

Washington, Sep. 6 - Palestinians want their leaders to create jobs and care little about political maneuvers at the United Nations, The Israel Project’s Arabic Media Program director Shimrit Meir told a briefing at the Washington Press Club Tuesday.

However, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas seems determined to ignore advice from world leaders as well as the desires of his own citizens.

The Palestinians intend to submit their statehood bid to the United Nations during the General Assembly this month; Abbas is scheduled to argue his case on Sept. 23.

“People have a sense that they don’t want to rock the boat, but yet the Palestinian leadership is going in this direction,” Meir said.

She said her team of four based in Jerusalem had found great success in reaching out to ordinary Arabs and particularly those who use social media platforms like Facebook. The “Israel Uncensored” Facebook page they have created currently has 114,003 “likes,” with more than half of users coming from Egypt.

Yet the Turkish and Egyptian political leadership’s recent hostile behavior towards Israel could lead to regional instability, Meir said.

Also at the briefing was Leah Soibel, TIP’s Spanish Media Program director, who spoke about recent Iranian inroads in South America. She said the Islamic Republic’s proxy Hezbollah, which has fired thousands of rockets into northern Israel, has a major presence at America’s doorstep, often facilitated by Venezuela.

“Terror continues to operate through Iranian proxy Hezbollah unabated in the region” she said, citing recent evidence of the group’s significant financial operations on the continent.

A recent TIP-commissioned poll by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza found that elections, stability, jobs and negotiations shape their current approach towards Israel.

“Palestinians want to return to the economic prosperity and opportunity they enjoyed before the intifadas – we see this in both the survey and in our qualitative research,” the firm noted in a memo analyzing the polling results.

“Working with Israel toward this end is not only acceptable, but desirable,” it added.

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