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Survey Finds West Bank Arabs Long for End to the Intifada

The vast majority of Palestinians in the West Bank are fed up with the uprising in the territories and want to get on with their normal lives, according to a study made by two lecturers at Bir Zeit University on behalf of Oxford University in Britain.

The survey, conducted among 2,100 Arab residents of 50 localities in the West Bank, showed that 80 percent believe the year-old intifada has not achieved its goals.

Among married men, 92 percent said they were bored by prolonged idleness at home forced on them by the uprising.

Of 730 Arab merchants questioned, 594 reported serious loss of income this past year. Ninety-six percent said they closed their shops for fear of reprisals, not because they wanted to observe the commercial strikes ordered by leaders of the uprising.

The survey found that 60 percent of Palestinian laborers were fired from their jobs in Israel because of prolonged absences due to the uprising.

Eighty-five percent of those questioned said they suffered a drop in living standards. Their families could afford to eat meat no more than once a month.

The frequent closure of universities that have become centers of Palestinian nationalism, such as Bir Zeit near Ramallah, has Arab students worried. The survey found that 95 percent of high school graduates plan to go to college abroad if the universities in the territory are not reopened.

That would mean the departure of about 8,000 students, the lecturers said.

Finally, more than 80 percent of Palestinians in the Ramallah area who possess U.S. citizenship have rented their homes and gone to America.

Yediot Achronot reported, meanwhile, that “the average number of monthly attacks, which reached about 200 during the initial months of the intifada, has declined considerably in recent months.”

This was attributed to vastly improved intelligence gathering by Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, which has led to important arrests. Nevertheless, many individuals wanted by the Shin Bet are still at large.

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