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I think on the ground means among the general public

How can this text use''despite'' when the next sentence also talks about public opinion?

That’s one of the most striking realities about the current situation: This critical decision about the future – one state or two states – is effectively being made on the ground every single day, despite the expressed opinion of the majority of the people.

In case I got the whole paragraph wrong, please give your definition of this paragraph.

  • To me, on the ground refers to the actual happenings. So it is talking about the actual activities surrounding the "critical decision", not the wishes of the public. – user3169 Jan 2 '17 at 1:54
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A Google of the text "on the ground meaning" gives: "in a place where real, practical work is done". Thus your example text is using the word 'despite' to contrast the general public (i.e. everyone) from those specific people who are making decisions.

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