‘Peace talks must involve Palestinians’
KUWAIT CITY, March 10: A survey by the Washington Institute for Near East Studies found 86% of Kuwaitis oppose any Arab cooperation with Israel in non-political matters such as technology, counter-terrorism and containment of Iran, reports Al-Rai daily. However, according to the survey, the opposition to normalization does not mean a Kuwaiti rejection of peace with Israel.
59% of the Kuwaitis said they support the Arab countries to play a renewed role to facilitate peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis, including incentives for both parties to reach a peaceful settlement.
Among the majority of Kuwaitis the poll showed that 52% of Sunni and Shiite citizens support the Palestinian movement Hamas compared to the Lebanese Hezbollah, which has only won support of two percent Kuwaiti Sunnis and 11 percent Shiite Kuwaitis.
“The majority of the Kuwaiti people agree with the government on the main issues,” commented David Pollock, one of the survey’s leading figures. “What distinguishes Kuwait in the region is its elected parliament with opposition forces within it, which makes Kuwait a place where opinion is of paramount importance.
“In contrast, the poll showed support of 45% of Kuwaitis for the Muslim Brotherhood, compared with 3% for Shiites. The support of the majority of Kuwaitis – Sunnis and Shiites – to Hamas, was reflected in Kuwait’s performance at the UN Security Council, in which Kuwait occupies a temporary membership that expires at the end of this year.
In the Security Council, the Kuwaiti government supported Hamas in more than one vote, angering the administration of President Donald Trump, and presumably Trump’s chief adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is responsible for managing the Arab-Israeli negotiations file, and shunned Kuwait from his Middle East tour which took him to other GCC countries, Turkey and Jordan.
Among Kuwaitis and their government is the consensus on Kuwait’s friendship with the United States. Forty-nine percent of Kuwaitis believe that Kuwait’s relationship with Washington is “important” and “very important.” 80% of Kuwaitis consider Kuwait’s relationship with Tehran as never important and, with 40% saying that Kuwait’s relations with Russia are ‘important’, while 59% of Kuwaitis considered it irrelevant.
On Iraq, Kuwaitis have expressed dissatisfaction with their northern neighbor – 31% saw relations with Iraq as “important,” while 66% said the Kuwaiti relationship with the Iraqis is unimportant. Finally, a majority of 63% of Kuwaitis said internal political affairs and economic reform are more important than foreign policy, while 35% of Kuwaitis said they believed foreign policy was more important than the country’s internal affairs.