PSR - Survey Research Unit: Public Opinion Poll # 10

Poll 4 English

 

Survey Research Unit

Results of Poll # 10

 

WHILE A MAJORITY OPPOSES E GENEVA DOCUMENT, PALESTINIAN ATTITUDES VARY REGARDING ITS CORE COMPONENTS: A LARGE MAJORITY OPPOSES THE REFUGEE SOLUTION AND THE RESTRICTIONS ON PALESTINIAN SOVEREIGNTY, BUT A MAJORITY ENDORSES EQUAL TERRITORIAL SWAPS AND THE DEPLOYMENT OF A MULTINATIONAL FORCE

 

04-09 December 2003

These are the results of opinion poll # 10, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) between 04-09 December 2003. The poll deals with Geneva Document, the peace process, Abu Ala’s government, the popularity of Arafat and the political factions. The total sample size of this poll is 1319 from Palestinians 18 years and older, interviewed face-to-face in West Bank (835) and in Gaza Strip (484), in 120 locations. The margin of error is 3%.

 

For further details, contact PSR director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki or Ayoub Mustafa at Tel 02-2964933 or email pcpsr@pcpsr.org. 

 

Table of Contents:

(1) Summary of Results.

(2) Geneva Document.

(3) Peace, Violence and Reconciliation.

(4) Abu Ala’s Government, Reform, and Corruption.

(5) Popularity of Arafat and the political factions.

(6) Main Results in Numbers.

 

 

SUMMARY OF RESULTS:

 

The poll shows significant opposition to the Geneva document among those Palestinians familiar with it and that support for the document is lukewarm. But it also shows that only a very small minority is fully aware of the content of the document and that when respondents become aware of its main components, both support and opposition increase significantly. A majority of the Palestinians sees red lines in two components: the refugee solution and the limits imposed on sovereignty. On the other hand, a majority welcomes the proposed deployment of a multinational force in the Palestinian state and the Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on the basis of the 1967 lines, with equal territorial exchange.

 

The poll also shows a Palestinian hesitation between the desire to see armed confrontations continuing (with a majority seeing such confrontations contributing to the achievement of national rights) and the desire for a mutual cessation of violence, including readiness to support the PA in taking measures to prevent armed attacks on Israelis when a mutual ceasefire is achieved. As for the long term vision, Palestinian readiness to support reconciliation between the two peoples has never been stronger.

 

Finally, the findings show that the Palestinian public is willing to give Abu Ala’s government a very limited vote of confidence especially in terms of its ability to implement political reforms. Arafat’s popularity drops significantly while Fateh’s decreases slightly. Support for Islamist and nationalist opposition continues to rise.

 

 

Main Results:

 

(1) Geneva Document

·        73% have heard of the Geneva document and the rest has not. But only 4% say they have full knowledge of it.

·        Only 7% have learned about Geneva from the pamphlet containing the document that were distributed with al Quds and al Ayyam newspapers while 79% have heard about it from the media.

·        Support for the document among those who have heard of it (i.e., among 73% of the public) reaches 25% (19% of all the public), opposition 61% (44% of all the public), and the undecided 14%. 37% of all the public are either undecided or have not heard of it.

·        Upon reading a summary of the main points of the document, support for the full package proposed by the document (among 100% of the public) increases from 19% to 39%, opposition increases from 44% to 58%, and the undecided and uninformed decreases from 37% to 3%. All the figures below referring to the Geneva document have been obtained after informing our respondents in detail about the various components of the Geneva document.

·        A majority supports two main components of the document: security arrangements involving the deployment a multinational force (58%) and the Israeli withdrawal based on the 1967 borders with mutual 1:1 territorial exchange (57%). A map showing borders and territorial exchange was presented to respondents. The percentage of opposition to the deployment of a multinational force reaches 40% and to territorial exchange 41%.

·        The Jerusalem component of the document received the support of 46% with 52% opposing; end of conflict received 42% support with 55% opposing; and the establishment of a state without an army received 36% support with 63% opposing.

·        A minority not exceeding a quarter gives support to the components of a refugee solution (25%) and the limitations on the sovereignty of the Palestinian state (23%). The percentage of opposition to the refugee component reaches 72% and to the limitation on sovereignty 76%. No difference between refugees and non-refugees exists when it comes to the Geneva refugee solution. Both segments of the society oppose it equally. 

·        In the eyes of the Palestinian public, the best component of the Geneva document is the one that deals with the territorial exchange and Israeli army withdrawal and the worst is the one that deals with refugees.

 

In this poll, we have asked respondents to express their attitudes toward the Geneva document based on what they have heard or read about it so far. We then provided them with a summary of seven core elements of the document and asked them to express attitudes regarding each element. We have finally asked them for their opinion on the whole document as a package. The findings show that the Palestinian public is lukewarm on the Geneva document and in fact has significant reservations about two of its components. On the other hand, the public is supportive of two other components while showing limited opposition to the remaining three components.

 

The poll found that the 73% of the public have heard of or read about the Geneva document and that among those who have heard of or read about it, support reaches 25% and opposition is 61%. Among the whole public these figures translate into 19% support and 44% opposition while the percentage of the undecided and those who have not read, or heard of, it is 37%. After informing the respondents of seven core elements of the document, support increased from 19% to 39%, opposition from 44% to 58%, and the undecided (and those who did not read or hear of it) decreased from 37% to 3%.

 

From among the seven components read to respondents, support is given to two only: the one dealing with the deployment of a multinational force (58%) and the one dealing with the Israeli withdrawal based on the 1967 borders with an equal territorial exchange (57%). Two components received the biggest opposition: the one dealing with refugees, opposed by 72%, and the one dealing with limitations on Palestinian sovereignty, opposed by 76%.  Support for the other three components vary with Jerusalem receiving 46%, end of conflict 42%, and the de-militarization of the Palestinian state 36%. From among those who have been previously informed of the document (i.e., 73% of the public), support increases among Fateh supporters (36%) compared to Hamas’ (26%). Support for the Geneva document as a package after being informed about its main components  increases among women (42%) compared to men (35%), among non refugees (41%) compared to refugees (36%), among those with preparatory education (47%) compared to those holding a BA degree (29), among housewives (44%) and farmers (40%) compared to students (32%), and among Fateh supporters (55%) compared to Hamas’ (33%).

 

The following table shows refugee and non refugee attitudes toward seven main components of the Geneva documents:

 

Total

Refugees

Non refugees

 

Support

Opposition

Support

Opposition

Support

Opposition

Attitude towards the Geneva document among those who have heard of it (73% of the public)

25

61

23

65

28

57

Attitude towards the Geneva document among all respondents (100% of the public)

19

44

17

49

20

40

Attitude towards each element of the Geneva document after it was read to respondents:

1. An Israeli withdrawal from all of the Gaza Strip and the evacuation of its settlements. But in the West Bank, Israel withdraws and evacuates settlements from most of it, with the exception of few settlement areas in less than 3% of the West Bank that would be exchanged with an equal amount of territory from Israel in accordance with the attached map {show map}.

57

41

58

40

56

42

2. An independent Palestinian state would be established in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; the Palestinian state will have no army, but it will have a strong security force. Both sides will be committed to end all forms of violence directed against each other.

36

63

33

66

38

60

3. East Jerusalem would become the capital of the Palestinian state with Arab neighborhoods coming under Palestinian sovereignty and Jewish neighborhoods coming under Israel sovereignty. The Old City (including al Haram al Sharif) would come under Palestinian sovereignty with the exception of the Jewish Quarter and the Wailing Wall that will come under Israeli sovereignty.

46

52

43

56

49

49

4. With regard to the refugee question, both sides agree that the solution will be based on UN resolutions 194 and 242 and on the Arab peace initiative. The refugees will be given five choices for permanent residency. These are: the Palestinian state and the Israeli areas transferred to the Palestinian state in the territorial exchange mentioned above; no restrictions would be imposed on refugee return to these two areas. Residency in the other three areas (in host countries, third countries, and Israel) would be subject to the decision of the states in those areas. The number of refugees returning to Israel will be based on the average number of refugees admitted to third countries like Australia, Canada, Europe, and others. All refugees will be entitled to compensation for their “refugeehood” and loss of properties.

25

72

25

73

26

72

5. When the permanent status agreement is fully implemented, it will mean the end of the conflict and no further claims will be made by either side. The parties will recognize Palestine and Israel as the homelands of their respective peoples

42

55

40

58

44

52

6. A multinational force will be established to monitor the implementation of the agreement, to ensure the security of the Palestinian state, to give both sides security guarantees, and to monitor territorial borders and coast of the Palestinian state including its international crossings.

58

40

58

40

57

40

7. The Palestinian state will have sovereignty over its land, water, and airspace. But Israeli will be allowed to use the Palestinian airspace for training purposes, and will maintain two early warning stations in the West Bank for 15 years. The multinational force will remain in the Palestinian state and in its border crossings for an indefinite period of time.

23

76

22

77

24

74

Attitude towards the Geneva document as a package after reading its components

39

58

36

61

41

56

 

 

(2) Peace, Violence and Reconciliation

·        58% believe that the Roadmap is dead, compared to 68% last October. Only one third, compared to 28% in October, believes that there is still a chance to implement it.

·        Percentage of support for attacks on soldiers and settlers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip remains very high at 87%. But supports for attacks on Israeli civilians drops to the lowest level since the start of the intifada (48%, compared to 59% last October).

·        Despite the high level of support for violence, a large majority of 83% supports mutual cessation of violence while 15% oppose it. And if an agreement on mutual cessation of violence were reached with Israel, 53% would support crackdown on those who would continue the violence. But 80% are worried that such a crackdown would lead to internal Palestinian strife; on the other hand, 73% believe that continuation of the violence would impede return to negotiations.

·        64% believe that armed confrontations have helped achieve Palestinian rights in ways that negotiations could not.

·        After reaching a peace agreement with Israel, 77% would support reconciliation between the two peoples with 87% supporting open borders between the two states, 69% supporting joint economic ventures and institutions, 42% supporting enacting laws that prohibit incitement against Israel, 29% supporting joint political institutions such as a parliament, and 10% supporting school curriculum that does not call for the return of all Palestine to Palestinians.

 

A majority of Palestinians is not optimistic about the chances for the implementation of the Roadmap as 58% believe that it has collapsed. But this percentage is smaller than the one registered in our October poll when 68% believed it had collapsed. The poll shows a large percentage (87%) supporting armed attacks on soldiers and settlers. But support for attacks on Israeli civilians inside Israel has dropped significantly from 59% last October to 48% in this poll. The current level of support for attacks on civilians is the lowest since the start of the intifada more than three years ago. Nonetheless, the belief that armed confrontations have helped achieve Palestinian rights in ways that negotiations could not remains high at 64%.

 

After reaching a peace agreement and the establishment of a Palestinian state, 77% of the Palestinians would support reconciliation between the two peoples, the Israelis and the Palestinians. As in our previous polls, support varies depending on the nature of the reconciliation measure proposed. For example, while support for joint economic ventures and institutions reaches 69%, support for enacting laws that prohibit incitement against Israelis does not exceed 42%, and support for the adoption of a school curriculum that does not demand the return of all Palestine to Palestinians is very law, at 10%.

 

(3) Abu Ala’s Government, Reform, and Corruption

·        37% are willing to give confidence to Abu Ala’ government, 42% are not, and 21% undecided. Last June, 41% gave confidence to Abu Mazin’s government and 52% refused to do so.

·        Confidence in the ability of Abu Ala’s government to carry out political reforms does not exceed 39%, fighting corruption 37%, improve economic conditions 45%, renewing negotiations with Israel 67%, and controlling the security situation and enforcing a ceasefire 34%. Those figures are similar to those obtained by Abu Mazin’s government last June except for that related to improving the economic conditions which received 56%.

·        Support for internal and external calls for fundamental political reforms reaches 89% with 9% opposing them.

·        Belief in the existence of corruption in PA institutions reaches 81% with less than 10% believing it does not exist. Two thirds of those who believe in the existence of corruption believe that it will increase or remain the same in the future while 21% believe that it will decrease.

 

Palestinian pubic is reluctant to give confidence to Abu Ala’s government (37% give it, 42% do not, and 21% are undecided). Confidence in Abu Ala’s government ability to implement political reforms does not exceed 39%. But confidence in its ability to renew negotiations with Israel is very high (67%), even though only 34% believe that the Palestinian government will be able to control the security situation and enforce a ceasefire.

 

Confidence in Abu Ala’s government increases among non-refugees (42%) compared to refugees (33%), among those with elementary education (39%) compared to holders of BA degree (31%), among farmers (55%) and merchants (49%) compared to professionals (23%) and specialists (28%), among those working in the private sector (39%) compared to those working in the public sector (33%), and among Fateh supporters (55%) compared to Hamas’ (32%).

(4) Popularity of Arafat and the political factions

·        Arafat’s popularity decreases from 50% last October to 38% in this poll.

·         Marwan Barghouti remains the most popular (as a vice president) with 16% (compared to 17% last October). Hamas’ Abdul Aziz Rantisi is the second most popular with 14% followed by Sa’eb Erikat (7%), Ahmad Yasin (6%), Hanan Ashrawi and Farouq Qaddumi (5% each), Haider Abdul Shafi (4%), and Abu Ala’ (3%).

·         Fateh’s popularity stands at 25%, Hamas 20%, Islamic Jihad 5%, independent Islamists 6% (with the Islamists reaching a total of 31%). With national opposition groups (PFLP and DFLP) receiving the support of 4%, total support for nationalist and Islamist opposition stands today at 35%.The unaffiliated remains the largest group however with 40%. Last October, Fateh received the support of 28% and Hamas 21%.

 

Arafat’s popularity drops from 50% last October to 38% in this poll. Arafat’s popularity increased from 35% to 50% last October in the aftermath of the Israeli threats to kill or expel him. The popularity of Marwan Barghouti and Abdul Aziz Rantisi (as vice president) remain almost unchanged at 16% and 14% respectively.  The poll shows that these two are the most popular after Arafat.

 

Support for Fateh drops from 28% last October to 25% in this poll. Hamas’ support remains almost unchanged at 20%. But support for Islamist and nationalist opposition increases by three percentage points from 32% to 35%. Opposition forces include Hamas, Islamic Jihad, independent Islamists, PFLP, and DFLP.

 

 

 

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