Palestinian Public Opinion Polls No. 21
President Mahmoud Abbas announced the 26th of July the date for conducting a referendum on the National Conciliation Document of the Prisoners. By making this announcement, the President put an end to all disputes concerning conducting the referendum. Abbas has made it clear more than once that the referendum is a means and not an end in itself; if the on-going debate among the Palestinian political factions reaches an agreement on the National Conciliation Document of the prisoners, the agreement will be an alternative to the referendum. Following the President's move, the PLC members began studying the legal implication of the referendum and Hamas hastened to refuse the mere idea of conducting a referendum considering national debate as the only way to settle differences among Palestinians. Further, Hamas considered the referendum a way that by passes the last Legislative Council elections. The Public Front made its reservations on the referendum, but did not reject it. The political factions that support the referendum point out that the Palestinian people are the only source of power that determines the final say in disputed issues. They maintain that the referendum does not evade the results of the elections, and that the basic Palestinian law does not prohibit such procedure.