Palestinian Public Opinion Polls No. 22
An-Najah National University/ Opinion Polls and Survey Studies Unit
Three Palestinian factions carried out a military operation against the Israeli soldiers in Karm Abu Salem near the Gaza Strip which resulted in taking an Israeli soldier as a prisoner of war and in killing another number of them. Following the operation Israel launched its military attacks on the Gaza Strip under the pretext of freeing the soldier. Several Arab and international parties tried to mediate in favor of freeing the Israeli soldier with no avail. The Palestinian factions holding the Israeli soldier avowed that they will not release their prisoner unless Israel agrees on a swap that would free, in return, Palestinian children, women and prisoners who spent a long term in the Israeli jails. Israel refused to negotiate and continued its aggression on the Gaza Strip and arrested a number of Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members and ministers. On the other side of the scene, Hezbullah announced taking two Israeli prisoners of war and demanded a swap with Lebanese, Arab, and Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails; Israel rejected Hezbullah's initiative and waged war against Lebanon. Under the above circumstances several Arab and international reactions were issued; some condemned Israel and others held Hezbullah responsible for the escalation that led to the present crisis. What is really noteworthy is what the secretary of the Arab League has said following the meeting of the Arab foreign ministers; the secretary announced the Middle East peace process dead and said that it has been decided that the case be referred to the United Nations.