WEF poll shows common ground between Palestinians and Israelis on peace

A specially commissioned poll to coincide with the World Economic Forum’s Global Summit of Peace and Reconciliation in Jordan shows huge agreement between the majority of Palestinians and Israelis concerning the peace process.

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By  Massoud Derhally Published  June 20, 2003

A specially commissioned poll to coincide with the World Economic Forum’s Global Summit of Peace and Reconciliation in Jordan shows huge agreement between the majority of Palestinians and Israelis concerning the peace process.

The survey released on the eve of the Summit, which will be held under the theme “Visions for a Shared Future,” found that 66% of the Israelis and 56% of the Palestinians questioned are in favour of the current renewal of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of the Roadmap for peace.

Carried out by the polling organizations TNS Teleseker and PCPO under the auspices of Gallup International for the World Economic Forum, it also found that three-quarters of the Israelis and Palestinians surveyed believe that both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live in peace and security.

“This poll shows what we all instinctively know, that the vast majority of ordinary people want peace on the basis of dialogue and cooperation. At our Global Reconciliation Summit in Jordan we hope to drive that process forward. What is interesting, too, is that the respondents clearly indicated their support for open markets and joint economic projects between the two peoples,” said José María Figueres, senior managing director of the World Economic Forum.

Five hundred Palestinians residing in the West Bank and Gaza and 500 Israeli citizens were asked 20 questions about the current peace process and their hopes for the future. Seventy-six percent of the Israelis and 69% of the Palestinians polled agree with the statement that there can be “no real economic growth and prosperity without a peace settlement”. However, 42% of Israelis indicated that the level of violence between Palestinians and Israelis will increase initially, if and when the Roadmap for peace is implemented.

The findings come ahead of the World Economic Forum’s Summit in Jordan. Among the sessions and workshops at the Summit will be discussions on “Business Challenges in the Middle East,” “Security in the Middle East” and “Increasing Competitiveness in the Arab World”; there will also be a special session entitled “Forging Peace” during which peace advocates and political leaders will discuss the necessary conditions for reconciliation in the Middle East. Among the discussion leaders will be peace activists and the Ministers for Foreign Affairs from Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The Summit will also see a meeting of the Quartet. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov, the EU Council’s Foreign Affairs Representative Javier Solana, and US Secretary of State Colin Powell will report back on their private meeting in Jordan at the Summit.

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