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


Main Findings:

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 implementing it. 

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:


(2) Domestic Conditions:


 (3) Reconciliation: 


(4) Most vital Palestinian goals and the main problems confronting Palestinians today:


(5) Peace process and resumption of negotiations:


(6) Developments in Egypt and Syria and relations with Jordan:



 This survey was conducted with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Ramallah.


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