While Netanyahu Takes Heat on Two-State Solution, Palestinians Give Up on It

RAMALLAH/YERUSHALAYIM (AP/Hamodia) -

On a day when Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s right-wing credentials were assailed after he reiterated his support for a two-state solution, a poll was published showing that two-thirds of Palestinians no longer believe that such a solution is possible.

The share of those who say they lost faith in such a deal rose from 56 percent in September to 65 percent now, said the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey research.

The poll was conducted last week among 1,270 Palestinians and had an error margin of three percentage points.

In a media interview Sunday, Netanyahu declared: “Two states for two peoples. And that’s where I’m focused.”

After hearing that, MK Betzalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) had a word of advice for the prime minister. “He shouldn’t get insulted next time someone says he is not on the right,” Smotrich said in a radio interview. “He’s made his position perfectly clear.”

The survey also found that 54 percent have no faith in the newly elected leadership of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah organization. The vote at a recent Fatah convention affirmed aging party stalwarts in top jobs and was seen as a move to sideline exiled Abbas rival Mohammed Dahlan.

In a related development, Abbas decided to strip four legislators seen as close to Dahlan of their parliamentary immunity, taking yet another step to prevent a Dahlan political comeback.

Hassan Ouri, a legal adviser to Abbas, told the Palestinian radio station Ajyal on Monday that the Palestinian leader made the decision after the Palestinian Constitutional Court affirmed his right to do so.

In the past, only the Palestinian parliament could strip legislators of their immunity. Parliament has been defunct since 2007, when the violent split between Fatah and rival Hamas occurred.

Fatah said that the four legislators would be investigated about suspicions of embezzlement of funds and weapons dealing.

Najat Abu Baker, one of the legislators being targeted, said the decision amounts to “suppression of the freedom of expression.” She said she was not notified of any possible legal steps against her.

Tuesday’s survey said 60 percent of Palestinians reject the court ruling giving Abbas the right to move against legislators.

Abbas has waged a relentless campaign against Dahlan since he fell out with his former senior aide several years ago. Dahlan has won the backing of several influential Arab states, including the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which urged Abbas earlier this year to allow the exiled politician to return.

Dahlan was convicted in absentia of defamation after Abbas lifted his immunity in 2012. A Palestinian court threw out separate corruption charges after ruling that Abbas’ immunity decree was not legal.