PSR - Survey Research Unit: Special Public Opinion Poll Among Palestinians of East Jerusalem

Special Public Opinion Poll Among Palestinians of East Jerusalem


6 October 2010 




Special Public Opinion Poll Among Palestinians of East Jerusalem


With a Total Absence of trust in the Intentions of Israel, the Netanyahu Government, and the Jerusalem Municipality Coupled with a Firm Belief in the Existence of Discrimination against Arabs, a Solid Majority Prefers Palestinian or International Sovereignty Over East Jerusalem. Yet, with High Levels of Satisfaction with Israeli Basic Services, and Significant Worry about Losing Israeli Medical Services, Free Movement Inside Israel, and Loss of Freedom of Expression in the Permanent Settlement, three Quarters of East Jerusalemites Prefer to See East and West Jerusalem as an Open City and One Quarter Prefers to Hold Israeli Citizenship


16-30 July 2010    



Table of Contents:

·         Services

·         Wall and other Problems

·         Political Participation

·         Permanent Settlement

·         Goals of Israel, the Netanyahu Government, and Jerusalem Municipality

·         House Demolishment and Forced Evacuation

·         Appendix (01): Demographic Information

·         Appendix (02): Map of Jerusalem (PDf format only)


These are the results of the latest poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in the areas of occupied East Jerusalem annexed by Israeli to the Jerusalem municipality and where Israeli laws are applied and Israeli (blue) identity cards are held by Palestinian residents. The poll was conducted during the period of 16-30 July.[1] Interviews were conducted face to face with a random sample of 1000 adult Palestinians over the age of 18 in 50 residential locations throughout all occupied East Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods. Margin of error is 3%. For further details on the neighborhoods and locations where the poll was conducted and for details on the demographic characteristics of the respondents, see annex (1): Sample Characteristics.

The poll has two goals:


(1) To identify current problems and concerns of East Jerusalem Palestinians under existing political and living conditions and to identify their views and likely patterns of behavior in a future political settlement. For this purpose, respondents have been asked about satisfaction with levels of service delivery, the nature of problems they confront in daily life, views on various peace proposals, and probable behavior under various peace scenarios.


(2) To contribute to the preparation of policy papers on the issues and challenges that are likely to confront East Jerusalemites and Palestinian policy makers in the aftermath of a political settlement. These policy papers seek to serve Palestinian planning purposes in terms of identifying the scope and nature of expectations and concerns and determining the preferences of East Jerusalemites in order to propose ways and options for dealing with them.

The poll was conducted during a period of intense Palestinian-Israeli-American debate on the transition from proximity talks to direct peace talks and on the future of a settlement freeze announced by Israel several months before. The period also witnessed continued threats to demolish homes of Palestinians in the city and to force the evacuation of homes claimed to have been owned by Jews before 1948. In response to these threats, demonstrations were organized by Palestinians and by Israeli and international solidarity groups in areas such as Shaykh Jarrah and Silwan.     

For further details, contact PSR director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki, or Walid Ladadweh at tel 02-296 4933 or email


Main Findings:


Findings show that the thing most liked by East Jerusalemites about their city is al Aqsa Mosque (mentioned by 50% of respondents) and the thing most disliked is the occupation and related measures like settlements, wall, siege, and other restrictions (54%) followed by issues of daily life like high prices, crowdedness, or “moral corruption” (each selected by 4% of the residents).  The following summary covers six main issues: (1) satisfaction with municipal services, (2) Wall and checkpoints, (3) political participation, (4) permanent settlement, (5) goals of Israel, Netanyahu government, and Jerusalem Municipality, and (7) demolishment and evacuation of homes.


(1) Services


While an overwhelming majority of the residents of East Jerusalem believes that discrimination in service delivery exists between Arabs and Jews, the majority is satisfied with basic and health services; yet, when problems arise, less than one third of respondents seek help from Israeli governmental offices while the largest percentage says it seeks help from family.


·      Residents of East Jerusalem are satisfied with many aspects of their life in the city but they are dissatisfied with others. (see figure 1) For example, they are satisfied or very satisfied with service delivery in areas of electricity (85%), water (79%), sewage system (78%), and telephone services (77%). They are also satisfied with access to medical services (83%), quality of doctors (77%), and access to nearby places of worship.  By contrast, they are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with service delivery in areas of residence taxes/Arnona (69%), ability to obtain building permits (63%), conditions of roads (61%), access to West Bank (59%) level of law enforcement (54%), and income tax (53%). When asked about the overall living conditions, three almost equal groups emerge: 35% are satisfied, 33% are dissatisfied, and 32% are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.



Figure (1)

Satisfaction and dissatisfaction of Jerusalemites with service delivery



·      An overwhelming majority of Jerusalemites (87%) believes that discrimination against Arabs exists in service delivery. (see figure 2) 17% say discrimination is noticeable in all areas of service delivery while 15% say it is particularly evident in access to health services, 14% believe it is in personal treatment, 10% say it is in areas of basic infrastructure such as roads, and 7% say it is evident in access to building permits. (see figure 3)


Figure (2)


Perception of existence of discrimination in service delivery between Jews and Arabs





Figure (3)


Areas of discrimination as perceived by East Jerusalemites





·      Two thirds of East Jerusalemites (67%) say that the Israeli condition that requires Jerusalem to be the “center of life” in order to receive some services, such as social security or insurance, affects them negatively and 9% say it affects them positively.


·      About three quarters of East Jerusalemites (73%) do not see themselves benefiting from the newly introduced light train while 17% say they are likely to benefit from it. Belief that they will benefit from the train increases in the southern neighborhoods of East Jerusalem (22%), followed by residents of the northern neighborhoods (20%) and central neighborhoods (15%).


·      When problems occur, or when in need for social assistance, the largest percentage (44%) seeks relief from family while 31% say they seek it from Israeli public institutions, 5% say they go to Palestinian NGOs, 4% say they go to Waqf (Islamic Endowment), and 2% say they go to international institutions. (see figure 4)



Figure (4)


Places East Jerusalemites go to for relief at time of problems or when needing social assistance




(2) Wall and other Problems


The Wall and military checkpoints pose the most serious problems for East Jerusalem residents with about three quarters traveling less to the West Bank since the erection of the Wall


·      94% say that the delays occurred during travel due to the erection of the West Bank wall poses a problem for them. Similarly, 93% say the delays and restrictions at checkpoints pose a problem. 84% describe the level of crime in the city as posing a problem while 78% say corruption of municipal staff poses a problem while 69% describe corruption in the Palestinian Authority as a problem. More than half (54%) say Israeli police and border guard pose a problem. Similarly, 51% say settlers pose a problem. Threats from other Palestinians are seen as a problem by 20%. (see figure 5)



Figure (5)


East Jerusalemites View Various Issues as problems





·      10% say they travel to West Bank daily for work or other purposes. The percentage increases to 37% for travel at least once every week, and to 32% for travel at least once every month. Three quarters (75%) say that their travel to the West Bank has become less due to the erection of the Wall.


(3) Political Participation


Overwhelming majority of East Jerusalemites did not participate in Palestinian or Israeli elections and will not participate in future Palestinian or Israeli elections even if the Palestinian Authority asked them to do so.


·      Overwhelming majority of East Jerusalemites says it did not participate in previous Palestinian elections and 22% say they did participate. The largest percentage did not participate because it saw no point in it either because it did not like the candidates (26%) or because the winners could not possibly make a difference in the lives of East Jerusalemites (18%). A small percentage of 3% say it did not participate due to fear of losing its East Jerusalem identity card and 10% were not adults at the time.


·      If new Palestinian elections are held today, 39% say they would participate and 56% say they would not. 69% say they do not see Palestinian elections bringing them any benefits.


·      With regard to Israeli elections, 8% say they have participated in previous Knesset or municipal elections and 91% say they did not participate. About one quarter (23%) says they did not participate because they did not like the candidates while 21% say they boycotted the elections because East Jerusalem is an occupied city.


·      If the Palestinian Authority were to ask them to participate in the Israeli Jerusalem municipal elections, 22% say they would participate and 75% say they would not.


(4) Permanent Settlement


In a permanent settlement, an overwhelming majority prefers a Palestinian or international sovereignty over East Jerusalem and a small minority not exceeding 6% prefers Israeli sovereignty. Despite this, a little less than two thirds prefer to have a Palestinian citizenship and a quarter prefers to have Israeli citizenship.

·      Sovereignty over East Jerusalem should be Palestinian in the eyes of 52% of the respondents while 27% prefer an international sovereignty and about 7% prefer it to be Islamic or Arab. Only 6% prefer Israeli sovereignty.

·      But when asked if they prefer to have Palestinian or Israeli citizenship in the permanent settlement, only 63% said they want Palestinian citizenship and close to a quarter (24%) said they want Israeli citizenship. Moreover, when asked to speculate about the preference of the majority of residents in their neighborhoods, 44% said they are likely to prefer Israeli citizenship and only 41% said they are likely to prefer Palestinian citizenship. (see figure 6)


Figure (6)


Personal preferences of East Jerusalemites regarding Citizenship and perception regarding likely preferences of neighborhood residents



·      After resolving the issue of sovereignty over East Jerusalem, 75% prefer to keep East and West Jerusalem as an open city, one in which Palestinians and Israelis would have full access while 25% oppose that.


·      If the neighborhood in which they live is to become part of Israel in a permanent settlement and it was possible for them to move to the Palestinian state, 71% say they would stay in their homes and would not move while 22% say they would move to live in the Palestinian state. (see figure 7) Desire to move and live in the Palestinian state if the neighborhood falls under Israeli sovereignty increases in the northern neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, reaching 34%; percentage in southern neighborhoods stands at 20% and in central neighborhood at 17%. 


·      Similarly, if the neighborhood comes under Palestinian sovereignty and it was possible to move to Israel, 73% say they would stay in their homes and would not move to Israel and 20% say they would move to Israel. (see figure 7) Desire to move and live in Israel if the neighborhood falls under Palestinian sovereignty increases in the northern neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, reaching 41%; percentage in southern and central neighborhoods does not exceed 14%.





Figure (7)


East Jerusalemites choices of place of residence under two peace scenarios



·      If their neighborhood becomes part of Israel and they were to become Israeli citizens, most or some East Jerusalemites would worry about various aspects of their lives: 82% would worry about discrimination against them because they are Arabs; 80% would worry that their children will be vulnerable to possible moral misconduct or to falling victims to drugs; 75% would worry about inability to visit relatives in the Palestinian state; 73% would worry about access to homes or family in the Palestinian state; 72% would worry about loss of access to al Aqsa or the old city (if they come under Palestinian sovereignty); 71% would worry about inability to travel to Arab countries,; 68% would worry about losing their Jordanian passport; 67% would worry about losing freedom of movement inside the Palestinian state; 62% would worry about losing access to Palestinian universities for their children; 60% would worry about losing ability to obtain Palestinian citizenship; 58% would worry about losing access to adequate education to their children; and 42% would worry about losing access to work in the Palestinian state. (see figure 8)


Figure (8)


Areas of worry or no worry of East Jerusalemites about their neighborhood becoming part of Israel and they becoming Israeli citizens



·      By contrast, if their neighborhood were to become a part of the new state of Palestine and they were to become citizens of Palestine, most or some Jerusalemites say they would worry about the following things: 72% about access to Jerusalem’s Old City and al Aqsa Mosque (if they come under Israeli sovereignty); 67% about changing from the Israeli health care system to a Palestinian health care system; 67% about possible increase in the level of corruption in the Palestinian state; 60% about losing access to free movement inside Israel; 58% about losing access to relatives or friends living in Israel; 57% about possible changes in their ability to write and speak freely; 57% about possible reduction in the level or quality of city services such as garbage pickup and road repair; 55% about possible reduction in the level of law enforcement; 54% about losing access to adequate education to my children; 53% about changing from Israeli unemployment benefits to Palestinian unemployment benefits; 52% about changing from Israeli retirement benefits to Palestinian retirement benefits; 51% about possible discrimination against them; 50% about losing access to employment in West Jerusalem or elsewhere in Israel; and 41% about losing access to Israeli universities. (see figure 9)



Figure (9)


Areas of worry or no worry of East Jerusalemites about their neighborhood becoming part of the new Palestinian state and they becoming Palestinian citizens



(5) Goals of Israel, the Netanyahu Government, and Jerusalem Municipality


Findings show total absence of trust in the intentions of the state of Israel, the government of Netanyahu, and the Jerusalem municipality: a majority believes the goal of Israel is to annex Jerusalem and the West Bank and expel their residents or deny them their rights, that the goal of the Netanyahu government is to expel Palestinians from East Jerusalem and to replace them with Jews, and that the goal of the Jerusalem municipality is to demolish the homes of Arabs and replace them with Jews.


·      64% believe that the long term goal of Israel is to extend its borders to cover all the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and expel its Arab citizens while 14% say the goal is to annex the West Bank while denying political rights of Palestinian citizens, and 11% say it aims at withdrawing from parts or all the territories it occupied in 1967 after guaranteeing its security. (see figure 10)


Figure (10)

Jerusalemites’ perceptions of the long term aspirations of the Israeli government






·      With regard to the long term aspiration of the Netanyahu government, 62% say it is to evict the Arab residents and replace them with Jewish settlers, 17% say it is to take away the ID cards of the Arabs and gradually change the demographic status of the city in favor of the Jews, 4% say it is to maintain the status quo,  2% say it is to improve living conditions for Arabs, and 3% say it is to transfer Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority. (see figure 11)


Figure (11)


Jerusalemites’ perceptions of the aspirations of the government of Benjamin Netanyahu for East Jerusalem in the next few years





·      With regard to the goals of the Jerusalem municipality under Nir Barakat, 66% say it is to demolish Arab homes and neighborhoods, evict Arab residents, and replace them with Jews, 6% say the goal is to reduce the level of municipal services to Arabs, 6% say it is to maintain the current status quo for the Arab residents, 3% say it is to introduce some improvement in the level of municipal service delivery to the Arabs, and 1% say it is to build new residential neighborhoods for the Arabs and improve the level of municipal service delivery to them.



Figure (12)


Jerusalemites’ perceptions of the goals of the mayor of the municipality of Jerusalem Nir Barakat for next few years





(6) House Demolishment and Forced Evacuation


An overwhelming majority of 90% believes that demolishing homes of and evicting Arabs is a policy aiming at punishing them to force them to leave the city and not aiming at enforcing the law. Moreover, majority of Jerusalemites does not trust the sympathy of the international community with the plight of residents threatened with eviction or demolishment of their homes, but trust in EU sympathy is higher than that of the US.


·      An overwhelming majority of 89% says that the policy of home demolishment and eviction aims at punishing the Arabs to force them to abandon the city while only 8% say the goal is to enforce the law. 69% are sympathetic with the residents threatened with home demolishment or eviction to the extent that they would be willing to participate in demonstrations while 28% say they do not wish to participate in such demonstration.


·      36% say the EU is indeed sympathetic with the plight of residents threatened with home demolishment or eviction and 64% say it is not. As to the US, only 7% say it is sympathetic and 93% say it is not.



Appendix (01): Demographic Information



1) Old city


Refugee Status

Non Refugee


2) Al-Thury




3) At Tur





4) Beit Hanina





5) Shufat Camp




6) Ras Al-Amud





7) Silwan





8) Wadi Al-Joz




9) Shufat


High School


10) Kafr ‘Aqab


Preparatory School


11) Al-Isawiya


Elementary and less


12) Bab Al-Zahirah





13) Beit Safafa


Sector of work

Public  sector


14) Jabal Al-Mukabbir


Private sector


15) Sur Bahir


Do not work


16) Umm Tuba