10.0pt"> Palestinian opinion polls continue to support the violence, In December, 44 percent of Palestinians thought the goal of the fighting was to conquer Israel ("liberate historic Palestine," or all Palestinian and Israeli territory). Now 51 percent of Palestinians want that. The number supporting the current violence has declined from 84 to 79 percent. Those favoring suicide bombing has declined from 74 to 68 percent.
One thing that is keeping the popular support for terrorism going among Palestinians is economic desperation. The unemployment rate is now over 50 percent. Sealing off Israel from Palestinian territories (plus the roadblocks around Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory) has crippled the Palestinian economy. Most Palestinians who worked in Israel have not been able to get to their jobs. To make matters worse, Israel is bringing in more East Europeans and Asians to replace Palestinians. The foreign workers are on individual contracts, and most will return home after making some money. In any event, none of the foreign workers are Moslem, and thus not seen as a potential terrorist threat.
Anti-terrorism efforts continue to defeat the suicide bombers. There was only one bombing in the past week, with several spectacular (bombs detonated before target area reached) failures. Raids continue into Palestinian areas to arrest suspects and seize bomb making material, weapons and other evidence. The terrorist groups have responded by changing their tactics, making more attacks on checkpoints and Jewish settlers. But captured suicide bombers and terrorists indicate that shortages of weapons and explosives is having an effect. The Israeli navy has seen more activity off the coast, as the terror groups try to smuggle weapons and explosives in.
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