Most Palestinians had no faith in Biden before war, poll reveals

Palestinians had little confidence in US President as a fair mediator and no hope a permanent peace would be achieved

US President Joe Biden during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv. EPA
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The majority of Palestinians surveyed in a pre-war poll had no hope of permanent peace with Israel and no faith in US President Joe Biden as a fair mediator.

Polling company Gallup conducted a survey in the occupied West Bank and Gaza from July to September, which was concluded only seven days before Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, leading to the Israel-Gaza war.

The results paint a bleak picture of Palestinian hopes for the future.

Eighty-one per cent said they did not believe Israel and Palestine would ever achieve permanent peace, compared to only 13 per cent who did. The number went up from 81 to 84 per cent for Palestinians living in Gaza.

The number was the highest since polling commenced in 2006, although it has been consistently above 60 per cent.

The survey also asked Palestinians whether they trusted US President Biden to "negotiate a peace treaty that is equally fair to both sides".

The results were overwhelmingly negative. Eighty-four per cent of Palestinians said they had "not much" trust or "none at all", while 70 per cent had "none at all".

That was slightly down on the previous survey in 2015, during Barack Obama's presidency, but otherwise was the highest since 2007.

Mr Biden has repeatedly voiced his full support for Israel during the latest conflict.

He visited Israel in the second week of the war and held a press conference alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

During the press conference, he said the US “will continue to have Israel's back”.

“You are not alone,” he said. “Seventy-five years ago your founders declared that the nation would be based on freedom, justice and peace. The US stands with you in defence of that freedom, in pursuit of that justice and in support of that peace.”

The US was one of 14 countries, alongside Israel, to vote against a UN General Assembly resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The poll also highlighted a generational divide in views on a two-state solution, with younger Palestinians no longer supporting an end to the conflict that would see two countries existing side by side.

Only one in six Palestinians between the ages of 15 and 25 said they supported a two-state solution, compared with 34 per cent of Palestinians aged 46 and older.

“Given the youthful demographic of the Palestinian Territories, where 69 per cent of the population is under the age of 29, scepticism among young people signals a concerning turn for the future should a diplomatic solution seem out of reach,” Gallup said.

A version of this article was first published on October 18 when the poll results were released

Updated: October 31, 2023, 12:57 PM