PSR - Survey Research
Unit: Poll No. 49 - Press Release
23 September 2013
Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (49)
Palestinian public is spilt regarding the
resumption of direct negotiations with Israel and pessimistic regarding the
chances for success, but if the talks do lead to a peace agreement, the public
believes that a majority of the Palestinians will approve it in a referendum
19-21 September 2013
These are the results of the
latest poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR)
in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between 19-21 September 2013. The period
before the poll witnessed two major developments: the return to
Palestinian-Israeli direct bilateral negotiations and the removal by the
Egyptian army of president Morsi, replacing him with a new president and a new
government. The army also partially closed the Rafah crossing into Egypt and
began to close down tunnels along the Egyptian borders with the Gaza Strip. This
press release covers public evaluation of the general West Bank and Gaza
conditions, elections, reconciliation, public evaluation of the performance of
the governments of Ismail Haniyeh and Rami al Hamdallah, public satisfaction
with the performance of President Mahmud Abbas, the internal balance of power
between Fateh and Hamas, return to negotiations, developments in Egypt, and
others. Total size of the sample is 1261 adults interviewed face to face in 127
randomly selected locations. Margin of error is 3%.
For further details, contact PSR director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki,
or Walid Ladadweh at tel 02-296 4933 or email
Findings show that the
Palestinian public is divided almost equally over President’s Abbas’ decision to
resume direct bilateral negotiations with Israel. Moreover, despite the vital
importance attached by the public to the issue of prisoners’ release, a larger
percentage gives greater priority to the two combined issues of the 1967 borders
and settlement freeze. Furthermore, the lack of enthusiasm for return to
negotiations seems to be driven by the belief of a large majority that the
current round of talks will fail just like previous rounds. But if negotiations
do succeed and an agreement is reached, the public believes that a majority of
the Palestinians will approve it in a referendum.
A majority does not expect to see
any positive development during the period of negotiations; only a quarter to a
third expects improvement in economic conditions, reduction in settlement
activities, or decrease in the number of checkpoints and other Israeli
restrictions in the West Bank. Perhaps because of all of this, a majority
supports waging popular non-violent resistance, side by side with negotiations.
Indeed, two thirds want to go now to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in
order to stop settlement construction even if such a step leads to suspension of
Israeli transfer of revenues to the PA and a halt to prisoners’ release. It is
worth mentioning in this regard that on the 20th anniversary of the
Oslo Agreement, less than a third of the public views it as having served vital
national interests of the Palestinian people with a majority believing that the
accord has in fact damaged those interests and that the PA should stop
Findings also show that the
latest developments in Egypt, including the change of the president and
government, increase doubts about the future of reconciliation and reunification
of the West Bank and the Gaza Stip. Optimism about unity has in fact reached the
lowest level since the split in 2007. Findings also show that two thirds of the
public believe that the change in Egypt will weaken Hamas’ authority in the Gaza
Strip. Moreover, perhaps due to the partial closure of the Rafah crossing, the
Egyptian army’s closure of the tunnels, and Hamas’s reaction to the change in
Egypt, the percentage of positive evaluation of conditions in the Gaza Strip has
decreased significantly. Positive evaluation of the performance of the
government of Ismail Haniyeh has also dropped. But findings do not show a
decrease in the likely vote for Hamas in the West Bank or in the Gaza Strip if
elections are held today.
We asked the public about its
views regarding developments in Egypt and Syria and regarding relations with
Jordan. Findings show that about two thirds view change in Egypt negatively
while less than a quarter sees it as good for Palestinians. Perhaps this
reaction is driven by the fact that change in Egypt has led to the closure of
the tunnels and the Rafah crossing leading to substantial hardships. On Syria,
we found that despite the belief of the majority that the Assad regime was the
one that used the chemical weapons against Syrian civilians, two-thirds oppose
an American military strike against the Assad forces. The opposition to the
strike might be due to the belief of many Palestinians that the strike would
target Syria more than the Assad regime. Finally, with regard to relations with
Jordan, findings show a reduction in support for a Palestinian-Jordanian
confederation compared to the level of support obtained three months ago. It
should be noted that support for the confederation increased last June in the
aftermath of the signing of the holy places agreement, an agreement that was
supported by a majority of the public at that time.
(1) Presidential and Legislative Elections:
If new presidential elections are held today
and only two were nominated, Abbas would receive the vote of 51% and Haniyeh
42% of the vote of those participating. The rate of participation in such
elections would reach 63%. Three months ago, Abbas received the support of
49% and Haniyeh 44%. In this poll, in the Gaza Strip, Abbas receives 45% and
Haniyeh 50% and in the West Bank Abbas receives 55% and Haniyeh 37%.
If presidential elections were between Marwan
Barghouti and Haniyeh, the former would receive 58% and the latter would
receive 35% of the participants’ votes. The rate of participation in this
case would reach 71%. In our June poll Barghouti received 57% of the vote
and Haniyeh 36%.
If presidential elections were between three:
Mahmud Abbas, Marwan Barghouti and Ismail Haniyeh, Barghouti would receive
the largest percentage (35%) followed by Haniyeh (33%), and Abbas (27%). The
rate of participation in this case would reach 75%. In our previous poll
last June, the results were identical to the current findings.
If new legislative elections are held today
with the participation of all factions, 71% say they would participate in
such elections. Of those who would participate, 31% say they would vote for
Hamas and 38% say they would vote for Fatah, 10% would vote for all other
third parties combined, and 22% are undecided. Vote for Hamas in the Gaza
Strip stands in this poll at 39% and in the West Bank at 25%. Vote for Fatah
in the Gaza Strip stands in this poll at 38% and in the West Bank at 39%.
These results indicate a decrease in support for Fatah and stability in the
vote for Hamas.
(2) Domestic Conditions:
Positive evaluation of conditions in the Gaza
Strip drops dramatically from 36% three months ago to 21% in this poll while
55% say conditions are bad or very bad.
Positive evaluation of conditions in the West
Bank remains almost unchanged compared to three months ago standing today at
29%. But the percentage of those who believe conditions in the West Bank are
bad or very bad increases from 37% to 44% during the same period.
Perception of corruption in PA institutions in
the West Bank stands at 79% in this poll. Perception of corruption in the
public institutions of Hamas’ Gaza government stands at 66%.
20% say there is, and 41% say there is to some
extent, press freedom in the West Bank. By contrast, 16% say there is, and
33% say there is to some extent, press freedom in the Gaza Strip.
31% of the Palestinian public say people in
the West Bank can criticize the authority in the West Bank without fear. By
contrast, 24% of the public say people in the Gaza Strip can criticize the
authorities in Gaza without fear.
Perception of safety and security in the West
Bank stands at 55% and in the Gaza Strip at 55%. Three months ago these
percentages stood at 64% in the Gaza Strip and 56% in the West Bank.
Findings show that the percentage of Gazans
who say they seek immigration to other countries stands at 45%; in the West
Bank, the percentage stands at 26%. Last June these percentages stood at 42%
and 27% respectively.
Positive evaluation of the performance of the
Haniyeh government stands at 36%.Three months ago it stood at41%. Positive
evaluation of the government of Rami al Hamdallah in the West Bank stands
today at 29%.
Percentage of satisfaction with the
performance of President Abbas remains unchanged at 49%. Dissatisfaction
with the president performance stands today at 48%.
Given the developments in Egypt and the ups
and downs in the Fateh-Hamas reconciliation dialogue, percentage of optimism
about the chances for reunification of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
drops to the lowest level since the split in 2007, standing today at 12%.
The belief that unity is impossible and that two separate entities will
emerge increases from 36% three months ago to 41% in this poll. 42% believe
that unity will be restored but only after a long time.
57% believe that the latest development in
Egypt reduces the chances for reunifying the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
while 14% believe it increases those chances and 25% believe it makes no
67% believe that the Egyptian developments
will weaken Hamas’ authority in the Gaza Strip while 10% believe they will
strengthen it and 20% believe they will leave no impact on that authority.
We asked respondents about conditions under
which they believe reconciliation cannot succeed. About three quarters
believe that reconciliation will not succeed without first ending the
restrictions on freedoms enjoyed by supporters of Hamas in the West Bank and
a similar percentage (75%) believes that it will not succeed without ending
restrictions on freedoms enjoyed by supporters of Fatah in the Gaza Strip.
Similarly, 67% say it will not succeed without first agreeing on an election
date; 65% say it will not succeed if Hamas continues to reject agreements
signed by the PLO with Israel; 63% say it will not succeed if security
coordination with Israel in the West Bank continues; another 61% say it will
not succeed if the PA continues to recognize Israel and the Oslo agreements;
and 56% say it will not succeed as along as Hamas insists on keeping its al
Qassam armed wing in the Gaza Strip.
The largest percentage (36%) believes that the
PA, with its parts in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, has become a burden
on the Palestinian people and 30% believe that it is an accomplishment for
the Palestinian people. Furthermore, 15% believe that the PA in the West
Bank is an accomplishment while the PA in the Gaza Strip is a burden. By
contrast, a similar percentage (13%) believes that the PA in the Gaza Strip
is an accomplishment while the PA in the West Bank is a burden.
56% regard the Gaza Strip as an
Israeli-occupied territory, just like the West Bank. But 19% consider it a
liberated area and 25% consider it semi-liberated and semi-occupied. Belief
that the Strip is liberated or semi liberated increases in the Gaza Strip,
reaching 58%, and decreases in the West Bank, standing at 35%.
More than three quarters of the public (77%)
support the continued payment of salaries to Gaza Strip employees who used
to work for the PA before the split in 2007. 20% believe that the PA should
stop the payment.
The public is split over the necessity of
holding separate elections in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip if the
current disunity continued for a long time: 47% believe it to be necessary
to hold such separate elections and 50% believe it to be unnecessary.
(4) Most vital Palestinian goals and the main
problems confronting Palestinians today:
45% believe that the first most vital
Palestinian goal should be to end Israeli occupation in the areas occupied
in 1967 and build a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
with East Jerusalem as its capital. By contrast, 29% believe the first most
vital goal should be to obtain the right of return of refugees to their 1948
towns and villages, 16% believe that it should be to build a pious or moral
individual and a religious society, one that applies all Islamic teachings,
and 11% believe that the first and most vital goal should be to establish a
democratic political system that respects freedoms and rights of
Palestinians. Three months ago, 42% said ending occupation and building a
state was most vital goal and 34% said the most vital goal was the right of
The most serious problem confronting
Palestinian society today is the spread of poverty and unemployment in the
eyes of 28% of the public while 23% say it is the continuation of occupation
and settlement activities; 19% believe the most serious problem is the
absence of national unity due to the West Bank-Gaza Strip split, 16% believe
the most serious problem is corruption in some public institutions, and 9%
believe it is the siege and the closure of the Gaza border crossings.
(5) Peace process and resumption of
The public is split over the decision by
president Abbas to return to direct bilateral negotiations with Israel: 47%
support the decision and 49% oppose it. Opposition increases to 61% in the
Gaza Strip and decreases to 43% in the West Bank. But 60% believe that the
president has made the right decision by agreeing to suspend for nine months
Palestinian application to join more international organizations in return
for Israeli release of 104 prisoners. 34% believe he made the wrong
But public’s attitude regarding going to the
ICC is different: 67% support and 28% oppose submitting a complaint to this
international organization against Israeli settlements even if such a step
leads to suspension of Israeli transfer of customs’ revenues and a halt to
We asked the public about its views regarding
the most important condition for return to negotiations: 31% selected the
release of prisoners, 28% selected an Israeli acceptance of the 1967 lines
as a basis for negotiations, and 14% selected an Israeli settlement freeze.
24% said they oppose resumption of any negotiations.
Only 26% believe that the Palestinian and
Israeli negotiators will succeed in reaching an agreement and 70% believe
they will not succeed. Only 32% expect negotiations to last for nine months,
But if the two sides succeed in reaching a
peace agreement and president Abbas asked the public to vote for it in a
referendum, a majority of 53% believes that most of the public will vote to
approve it and 37% believe most will vote against it.
Public expectations regarding likely
developments during the period of negotiations are not positive: only 31%
expect an improvement in economic conditions, only 15% expect a reduction in
settlement activities, 27% except a reduction in the number of checkpoints
and other Israeli restrictions in the West Bank, only 26% expect increase in
the efforts to isolate Israel at the international arena, and only 40%
expect a rise in international support for the Palestinians.
A majority of 51% support and 48% oppose the
two-state solution. Similarly, 52% support the Saudi peace initiative and
45% oppose it. But only 40% support and 58% oppose a mutual recognition of
Israel as the state for the Jewish people and Palestine as the state for the
Palestinian people after reaching a peace agreement.
59% believe that the two-state solution is no
longer practical due to settlement expansion and 36% believe it is still
practical since settlements can be dismantled. Despite this finding, only
29% support a one-state solution in which Arabs and Jews enjoy equality; 70%
72% believe that the chances for a Palestinian
state to emerge alongside Israel in the next five years and slim to
non-existent while 26% think the chances are medium or high.
Despite the return to negotiations, 60%
support resort to popular non-violent resistance and 39% oppose it. By
contrast, only 36% support dissolving the PA, 35% support return to armed
intifada, and 26% support abandoning the two-state solution in favor of
On the 20th anniversary of the Oslo
agreement, 59% believe that the accord has damaged vital Palestinian
national interests while only 29% believe that it served those interests.
Belief that the Oslo agreement has served national interests is higher in
the Gaza Strip (34%) compared to the West Bank (27%). Findings also show
that 60% oppose the continued implementation of the Oslo agreement; only 31%
support its continued implementation.
76% are worried and 24% are not worried that
they or members of their families would be hurt by Israelis or their land
confiscated or homes demolished. Furthermore, 59% believe that Israel’s long
term goal is to expand its borders to include all territories between the
Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and expel their Palestinian
population and 21% believe that Israel’s aim is to annex all occupied
territories while denying Palestinians their political rights. Only 19%
believe that Israel’s long term aspiration is to withdraw from all or parts
of the 1967-occupied territories after ensuring its security. With regard to
Palestinian long term goals, 66% believe that the goal of the PA and the PLO
is to recover parts or all of the land occupied in 1967 while 12% believe
the goal is to defeat Israel and recover the land occupied in 1948 and 10%
believe the goal is to defeat Israel and destroy its Jewish population.
(6) Developments in Egypt and Syria and
relations with Jordan:
41% say they sympathize with president Morsi
and the Muslim Brothers in Egypt while 27% say they sympathize with the army
and the current government and president. Sympathy with Morsi and the
Brothers increases in the Gaza Strip (46%) compared the West Bank (38%).
Furthermore, 65% regard the change in Egypt which led to the dismissal of
Morsi as bad for Palestinians while 22% view it as good for Palestinians.
A majority of 52% believes that it was the
Syrian regime that used chemical weapons against Syrian civilians while 20%
believe it was the Syrian opposition that used them. Two thirds of the
public oppose and 29% support a limited American military against the Assad
forces even if it is proven that it was the Assad regime that used the
Findings show an increase in opposition to a
confederation with Jordan from 40% three months ago to 48% in this poll. The
current percentage of opposition is similar to those obtained in previous
years: 49% in 2008 and 52% in 2007. 25% support a confederation with Jordan
now and 19% support it if established in the future after the end of
occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state.
survey was conducted with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Ramallah.
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