Poll: Palestinians Back Bombers

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Poll: Palestinians Back Bombers

The Associated Press Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2001; 8:29 p.m. EDT

JERUSALEM A large majority of Palestinians responding to an opinion poll released Tuesday said they would support suicide bombing attacks against Israelis as long as Israel's measures against Palestinians continue.

During 11 months of fighting, Palestinian suicide bombers have killed dozens of Israelis, blowing themselves up in public places including malls, restaurants and bus stops. On Aug. 9, a suicide bomber blew up a Jerusalem pizza place, killing himself and 15 other people.

Asked whether they would support suicide attacks if Israel continues a policy of closure of the Palestinian territories, targeted killings of suspected Palestinian militants and shelling of Palestinian areas, 81.1 percent of respondents said they would, while 10.3 percent would not.

If the Israeli measures cease, 54.8 percent said they would still favor suicide bombings, while 26.7 would oppose them.

The survey was conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, based in the West Bank, was taken Aug. 8-13. The poll had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Palestinian support for armed attacks against Israel has risen throughout 11 months of fighting that has killed 590 on the Palestinian side and 162 on the Israeli side.

A Gallup poll released Aug. 17 showed that about half of Israelis believe their army is not using enough force against the Palestinians, up sharply from a poll taken before the pizza restaurant bombing.

A joint Israeli-Palestinian survey by two polling institutes last month said 59 percent of Palestinians and 46 percent of Israelis expect the violent conflict to continue for at least five to 10 more years.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), August 29, 2001

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