Despite US Pressure, Most Palestinians Support Terrorist Payments

In the face of increased pressure from the Trump administration and Congress to end Palestinian terrorists’ payments, a new poll released on Wednesday showed that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians — 91 percent — support their continuation.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to stop the stipends, including during his visit to Bethlehem. Senator Lindsey Graham recently (R-SC) introduced the Taylor Force Act, legislation that would completely sever all U.S. economic aid to the Palestinian Authority if the payments did not end. The bill has recently gained momentum as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker (R-TN) announced that a “Taylor Force-like Act” would pass by the August recess. The bill has also gained Democratic support with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) backing the measure.

Yet, the strong American pressure has appeared to have little impact on the Palestinian public. Palestinians are also pessimistic about the Trump administration’s policy on the peace process, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, led by Dr. Khalil Shikaki, found. After Trump’s May visit to the Middle East, 50 percent of Palestinians believe that U.S.-Palestinian relations will continue to deteriorate with only 13 percent who think that ties will improve.

In break with longstanding U.S. policy, the Trump administration has yet to announce its backing of the two state solution. U.S. Mideast envoys, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, met with Abbas last month in Ramallah and multiple media reports quoted Palestinian officials expressing outrage about the hardened U.S. position on the conflict.

In the absence of U.S.-backed peace negotiations, 74 percent of Palestinians support joining more international organizations, a move routinely criticized by Washington. At the same time, 39 percent back the resumption of armed struggle, which is down from 51 percent three months ago.

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