The survey showed that 49 percent of Palestinians supported the idea of reviving the peace talks that ended about three years ago. This is a qualitative shift from an earlier poll conducted in October, when opinions divided equally with 45 percent of respondents each supporting and opposing resuming talks.
The support is distributed unevenly, though, with a majority (56 percent) of respondents in the Gaza Strip speaking in favor of peace talks, while a plurality of Palestinians from the West Bank opposed the idea. Gaza has been devastated by repeated Israeli attacks and is gripped by water, fuel and electricity shortages.
Support for the upcoming summit of Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Washington had a similar distribution, with a plurality of 42 percent of Gaza Strip respondents supporting the summit, but 32.2 percent of respondents from the West Bank opposing.
On one thing the Palestinians agree, though. The majority of respondents both from the West Bank (52.5 percent) and the Gaza Strip (59 percent) believe that Trump will be unbalanced when it comes to mediating between the two adversaries. An absolute minority, a total of 3.4 percent, said that he would be a balanced mediator.
It is peculiar that Trump's visit to the Middle East changed opinions so much, considering that only 9 percent of Palestinians said they think Trump was serious when he talked about "making a deal" between Palestinians and Israelis. More than three times as much respondents, 28 percent, said he wasn't serious. A majority, 57 percent, say they don't know what's on his mind, an attitude perhaps not confined to the Middle East.
However, a slight majority of Palestinians (50.5 percent) still think that Trump is either "capable" or "somewhat capable" of making such a deal if he would really like to. The problem is whether he means what he says.
"I am committed to trying to achieve a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians," Trump said last week in Bethlehem. "I intend to do everything I can to help achieve that goal."