Under Trump, More Than Third of Palestinians Now Want Armed Struggle With Israel

Palestinian protestors clash with Israeli security forces following a demonstration calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, on January 13, 2018, in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty

The number of Palestinians who support a renewed round of violence against Israel has almost doubled since President Donald Trump's decision to order the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The December 6 announcement, which came against the wishes of Arab leaders, has angered the Muslim world and pushed the Palestinians away from the negotiating table—or at least the one in which America plays a role as a mediator.

A new poll shows that the decision has not only alienated Palestinian political leaders, but the Palestinian street. Increasing hopelessness for a resolution to the decades-long conflict appears to have manifested itself in higher support for violence against Israel, which continues to impose a military occupation in the East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The majority of Israelis and Palestinians no longer believe that the two-state solution, a Palestinian and Israeli state living side-by-side, is the right resolution to the conflict.

According to Palestinian-Israeli Pulse, a joint poll published by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research (TSC), Tel Aviv University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, showed that 38 percent of Palestinians now supported armed violence against Israel, up from 21 percent in the last survey.

Palestinians have waged two uprisings, or Intifadas, against Israel since 1987 that have resulted in the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians. Palestinian militant group Hamas has called for a third Intifada in response to Trump's decision.

The poll's results showed that only 26 percent of Palestinians would now support a peace deal with Israel, the Times of Israel reported. This is a drop of 45 percent from last June.

Among Israeli Jews, a similar trend was spotted. Support for a peace deal fell from 45 percent to 38 percent, while those in support of a "decisive military offensive" climbed from 12 percent to 19 percent.

The bi-annual poll was conducted after Trump's December 6 decision.

The Israeli right and the government of Benjamin Netanyahu have instead lauded Trump's decision as a recognition of reality on the ground.

Trump's Vice President Mike Pence, on a visit to Israel this week, said that the embassy would be moved before the end of 2019. Palestinian leaders refused to meet with him, accusing the Trump administration of bias toward Israel.

"Palestinian attitudes become more pessimistic in general and support for militancy rose following US President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital," a press release said.

"The decline in viability [of a two-state solution] is probably due to the announcement by President Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," it added.

According to new figures released by Israel's domestic security agency, Shin Bet, earlier this month, Trump's decision has caused the number of attacks to triple in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The spy force said there were 249 attacks in those areas during December, compared with 84 attacks in November and 71 in October.

Shin Bet did not explicitly connect the rise to Trump's announcement but it is an increase that is in line with the forecasts of the Israeli authorities that the months following his decision would be more unstable.

Trump's decision was controversial among Palestinians as it altered decades of U.S. policy on the protracted conflict, effectively recognizing Jerusalem, a contested city, as the capital of Israel. The majority of the international community holds that the city's status should be negotiated between both sides of the conflict.