Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (42)
While Hamas wins greater public confidence and appreciation in the aftermath of the prisoner exchange deal, likely vote for the group remains unchanged and while the public opposes return to negotiations without terms of reference and a settlement freeze, support for a permanent status compromise increases
15-17 December 2011
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 15-17 December 2011. Several important developments preceded this poll: a Hamas-Israel prisoner exchange deal, an increase in settlers’ violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, Palestinian submission of a request to join the United Nations, admission of Palestine as a member state at UNESCO, and Abbas-Mish’al meeting and the renewal of Fateh-Hamas reconciliation efforts including the setting of May 2012 as a date for new elections. The poll covers Palestinian attitudes regarding the prisoner exchange deal, reconciliation, the performance of the governments of Salam Fayyad and Ismail Haniyeh, the internal balance of power between Fateh and Hamas, and the views of the public on the most vital Palestinian goals. Total size of the sample is 1270 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 email@example.com.
Findings of the final quarter of 2011 show that Hamas has won the confidence and respect of the public in the aftermath of the prisoner exchange deal with Israel. About three quarters believe that Hamas came out winning from the deal more than Israel. Moreover 37% say their support for Hamas has increased as a result of the deal while only 10% say their support has decreased. As importantly, confidence in Hamas is expressed in the acceptance of a majority of the public of Hamas’ decision in the deal to concede to Israeli conditions regarding two important issues: the exclusion from the deal of major political figures and the deportation of many released prisoners. Confidence in Hamas is also reflected in the increase in the positive evaluation of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip and in the increased popularity of Ismail Haniyeh, its potential candidate to the presidential elections. Despite all this however, the percentage of likely vote for Hamas in parliamentary elections, if one is held today, remains unchanged compared to the situation before the exchange deal.
Findings also show a limited decline in the popularity of president Mahmud Abbas and reveal a problem Fateh is likely to face in selecting a candidate for the presidency, if Abbas continues to insist on not running. The most popular alternative is Marwan Barghouti. He is also the one most able to win similar levels of support from both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. All other potential Fateh candidates receive very small percentages of support, not exceeding 7%. Moreover, most potential candidates have highly different levels of support in the West Bank compared to the Gaza Strip.
Findings also show that despite the continued public opposition to return to negotiations with Israel before it accepts terms of reference based on the 1967 borders and agrees to a settlement freeze, the public shows more willingness than any time during the past six years to accept a permanent settlement compromise based on the Geneva Initiative and the Clinton Parameters. In the meanwhile, the public strongly supports going to the UN and launching a popular non violent resistance and opposes the dissolution of the PA, a return to an armed intifada, or the abandonment of the two-state solution and the adoption of the one-state solution.
(1) Domestic Conditions, Elections, and Reconciliation:
- Positive evaluation of conditions in the West Bank (47%) is higher than positive evaluation of conditions in the Gaza Strip (26%).
- Similarly, perception that press freedom exists in the West Bank is higher, standing at 67%, than perception that it exists in the Gaza Strip, standing at 52%. Perception that people can criticize the West Bank PA without fear stands at 35% while perception that people can criticize the Gaza Hamas government stands at 24%.
- But belief that corruption exists in the West Bank PA institutions stands at 70% while belief that corruption exists in the institutions of the Gaza dismissed government stands at 60%.
- Moreover, perception of safety and security is higher in the Gaza Strip, standing at 69%, than in the West Bank, standing at 59%.
- Increase in the positive evaluation of the performance of the Haniyeh government and a decrease in the positive evaluation of the performance of the Fayyad government
- Satisfaction with the performance of President Abbas rises from 52% to 60% in three months.
- If new presidential elections are to be held today, Abbas would receive 55% and Haniyeh 37%.
- If new legislative elections are to be held today, Hamas would receive 29%, Fateh 43%, all other electoral lists 11%, and 17% remain undecided.
- The strongest alternative Fateh candidate to Abbas is Marwan Barghouti (54%) followed by Saeb Erikat (7%).
- Half of the public is optimistic about the chances for reconciliation and 43% believe that new elections will indeed take place in May or a little after that, but only 21% believe that a reconciliation government will be formed any time soon.
- The largest percentage (47%) opposes the exclusion of Fayyad as possible prime minister of a reconciliation government while 44% agree with the exclusion.
- 72% believe that the US and Israel will suspend financial assistance and transfer of custom funds to the PA after the formation of the reconciliation government.
- 71% believe that the PA should accept American financial assistance while 27% believe it should reject it; 64% believe that alternative sources of financial assistance do exist.
26% describe conditions in the Gaza Strip as good or very good and 47% describe them as bad or very bad. By contrast, 36% describe conditions in the West Bank as good or very good and 30% describe them as bad or very bad. 67% say there is, or there is to some extent, press freedom in the West Bank and 28% say there is no such freedom in the West Bank. By contrast, 52% say there is, or there is to some extent, press freedom in the Gaza Strip while 36% say there is no such freedom in the Gaza Strip. Similarly, 35% say people in the West Bank can criticize the authority in the West Bank without fear. By contrast, 24% say people in the Gaza Strip can criticize the authorities in Gaza without fear.
However, while 70% say there is corruption in the PA institutions in the West Bank, only 60% say there is corruption in the institutions of the dismissed government in the Gaza Strip. These percentages are similar to those obtained three months ago. Moreover, perception of safety and security stands at 59% in the West Bank and 69% in the Gaza Strip. These findings show an improvement in the Gaza conditions, probably reflecting perception after the prisoner exchange deal while showing deterioration of conditions in the West Bank, probably in response to an increase in settlers’ violence against West Bankers.
Findings show an increase in the positive evaluation of the performance of the Haniyeh government and a decrease in the positive evaluation of the performance of the Fayyad government. Positive evaluation of the performance of the governments of Ismail Haniyeh stands at 41% and Salam Fayyad’s at 44%. Three months ago, these percentages stood at 34% and 53% respectively. But findings show also that the percentage of Gazans who say they seek immigration to other countries stands at 43%; in the West Bank, the percentage stands at 24%. Three months ago, these figures stood at 49% and 28% respectively.
Percentage of satisfaction with the performance of President Abbas stands at 60% while 38% say they are dissatisfied with his performance. These figures stood at 52% and 44% respectively. The increase in the satisfaction with the performance of Abbas is probably reflecting public appreciation for his UN speech about three months ago. Satisfaction with the performance of the president stands today at 47% in the Gaza Strip and 67% in the West Bank.
If new presidential elections are held today, and only two were nominated, Abbas would receive the vote of 55% and Haniyeh 37% of the vote of those participating. The rate of participation in such election would reach 64%. In the Gaza Strip, Abbas receives 54% and Haniyeh 42% and in the West Bank Abbas receives 56% and Haniyeh 33%. These results indicate a decrease in Abbas’ popularity and an increase in Haniyeh’s compared to the situation three months ago when Abbas received the support of 59% and Haniyeh 34%. If the presidential elections were between Marwan Barghouti and Ismail Haniyeh, the former would receive 64% and the latter would receive 30% of the participants’ votes. The rate of participation in this case would reach 71%. If new legislative elections are held today with the participation of all factions, 73% say they would participate in such elections. Of those who would participate, 29% say they would vote for Hamas and 43% say they would vote for Fateh, 11% would vote for all other third parties combined, and 17% are undecided. These results indicate a decrease of two percentage points in Fateh’s popularity compared to the situation three months ago. Vote for Hamas in the Gaza Strip in this poll stands at 35% and in the West Bank 25%. Vote for Fateh in the Gaza Strip stands at 43% and in the West Bank 44%.
In an open question, one without a list to choose from, respondents were asked to propose a candidate for Fateh in the next presidential elections--assuming president Abbas would not run. The largest percentage (40%) favored Marwan Barghouti while 8% favored Salam Fayyad, 5% favored Saeb Erekat, 3% favored Mohammad Dahlan, 2% favored Azzam al Ahmad, and another 2% favored Mustapha Barghouti. When respondents were asked to select a favored candidate from a list of names, 54% selected Marwan Barghouti, followed by Erekat (7%), Mahmud Al Aloul (4%), and Azzam al Ahmad (3%). 2% went to each of the following names: Abu Mahir Ghnaim, Nasir al Qidwa, Jibril al Rojoub, and Ahmad Qurie’.
Now, after the meeting between president Mahmud Abbas and Khalid Mish’al, 50% believe Fateh and Hamas will succeed in implementing the reconciliation agreement and reunify the West Bank and the Gaza Strip while 46% believe they will not succeed. Optimism is higher in the West Bank (53%) than in the Gaza Strip (46%), among those who would vote for Hamas and Fateh (58% and 52% respectively) compared to those who do not wish to participate in new elections or those who would vote for third parties (42% and 44% respectively), among illiterates and those with primary education (66% and 58% respectively) compared to those who carry a BA degree (40%), among those who use the internet once a month or those who do not use it at all (60%) compared to those who use it on daily basis (46%).
Despite the optimism expressed by half of the public, only 21% expect to see the formation of a reconciliation government or a government of experts within days or weeks. 46% expect one to be formed after a long time and 27% believe one will never be formed. Percentage of those who believe a reconciliation government will be formed in few days or weeks increases in the Gaza Strip (24%) compared to the West Bank (19%), among those who describe themselves as religious (24%) compared to those who describe themselves as somewhat religious (17%), among those who would vote for Hamas and Fateh (25% and 22% respectively) compared to those who will not participate in elections (16%), among the illiterates (34%) compared to those who carry a BA degree (17%), and among those who use the internet on daily basis (23%) compared to those who use it once a month or not at all (13%).
With regard to presidential and parliamentary elections, now proposed for May 2012, 43% expect them to be held on time or a little after that while 47% believe elections will not be held around that time. 47% oppose the exclusion of Salam Fayyad from leading the government of reconciliation or experts while 44% agree to his exclusion as Hamas wishes. Percentage of opposition to the exclusion of Fayyad increases in the Gaza Strip (49%) compared to the West Bank (46%), among supporters of the peace process (53%) compared to those who oppose the peace process (31%), among those who would vote for Fateh (64%) compared to those who would vote for Hamas (27%), among holders of BA degree (52%) compared to illiterates (44%), and among those who work in the public sector (56%) compared to those who work in the private sector (47%).
If a government of reconciliation or experts is formed soon, 72% expect the US government to punish the PA by suspending financial support. A larger percentage (80%) believes Israel too would most likely suspend transfer of custom money to the PA. But a smaller percentage (52%) expects the EU to suspend financial support when a government of reconciliation or experts is formed. Findings also show that a large majority (71%) believes that under the present conditions the PA should accept American financial assistance while 27% believe it should reject it. In case the PA rejected American assistance or if the assistance stopped for some other reason, 64% believe the PA will find alternative sources in the Arab World and friendly countries while 33% believe it will not find alternative sources. The percentage of those who believe the PA should accept American assistance increases among those who describe themselves as somewhat religious (74%) compared to those who describe themselves as religious (66%), among supporters of the peace process (75%) compared to those who oppose the peace process (61%), and among those who would vote for Fateh (80%) compared to those who would vote for Hamas (60%). The belief that the PA will find alternative sources of assistance to that of the US increases in the Gaza Strip (68%) compared to the West Bank (61%), among those opposed to the peace process (74%) compared to those who support the peace process (62%), and among holders of BA degree (67%) compared to illiterates (41%).
(2) Hamas-Israel Prisoner Exchange Deal:
- About three quarters believe that Hamas came out winning more than Israel in the prisoner exchange deal and 37% say that their support for Hamas has increased after the deal.
- A majority agrees that Hamas was right to agree to Israel’s tough conditions in the prisoner exchange deal such as those that stipulated that top political leaders would not be released or that some would be deported.
About three quarters of the public believe Hamas came out winning more than Israel in the prisoner exchange deal while only 22% believe Israel won more out of the deal. Moreover, 37% say their support for Hamas has increased after the exchange deal while 50% say their support did not change and only 10% say their support decreased. Percentage of those who say their support for Hamas has increased rises in the West Bank (41%) compared to the Gaza Strip (32%), among those who describe themselves as religious (45%) compared to those who describe themselves as somewhat religious (32%), among those who oppose the peace process (54%) compared to those who support the peace process (33%), among those who would vote for Hamas (76%) compared to those who would vote for Fateh, third parties, those who have not decided yet to whom they would vote, and those who will not participate in new elections (21%, 32%, 26%, and 33% respectively), among those who work in the private sector (36%) compared to those who work in the public sector (30%), and among those who use the internet once a month or not at all (39%) compared to those who use it on daily basis (30%).
A majority of 55% believe that Hamas was right to agree to Israel’s condition that stipulated that top leaders like Ahmad Sa’dat, Ibrahim Hamid, and Marwan Barghouti would be excluded from the exchange deal while 40% believe that Hamas should not have agreed to this condition. Similarly, a majority of 53% believe that Hamas was right to agree to Israel’s condition that a number of released prisoners would be deported while 43% believe that Hamas should not have agreed to this condition. Percentage of those who believe that Hamas should have accepted the condition that no top political leaders should be released increases in the West Bank (57%) compared to the Gaza Strip (52%), among those who describe themselves as religious (60%) compared to those who describe themselves as somewhat religious (53%), among those who are opposed to the peace process (71%) compared to supporters of the peace process (51%), among those who would vote for Hamas (76%) compared to those who vote for Fateh and third parties (44% and 47% respectively), among those whose age is over 50 years (60%) compared to those whose age is between 18 and 28 years (53%), among the illiterates (60%) compared to holders of BA degree (52%), and among those who use the internet once a month or do not use it at all (62%) compared to those who use it on daily basis (53%).
(3) Peace Process
- Rise in support for a permanent settlement along the lines of the Clinton Parameters and the Geneva Initiative from 40% a year ago to 50% in this poll. A majority supports compromises related to borders and territorial exchange and end of conflict (63% each), half supports proposed security arrangements, but only a minority supports compromises related to refugees (45%), Jerusalem (40%), and the establishment of a state without an army (32%).
- 59% support and 39% oppose the Arab Peace Initiative.
- 63% believe that the chances for establishing a Palestinian state in the next five years are slim or non existent and 36% believe the chances are medium or high.
Findings show that 50% support and 49% oppose a package of a permanent status agreement based on the Clinton Parameters and the Geneva Initiative. Support for this package stood at 40% in December 2010. The Clinton parameters for a Palestinian-Israeli permanent settlement were presented by President Clinton at a meeting with Israeli and Palestinian officials almost ten years ago, on December 23, 2000, following the collapse of the July 2000 Camp David summit. The Geneva Initiative, along similar lines, was made public around the end of 2003. These parameters address the most fundamental issues which underlie the Palestinian-Israeli conflict: (1) final borders and territorial exchange; (2) refugees; (3) Jerusalem; (4) a demilitarized Palestinian state; (5) security arrangements; and (6) end of conflict. We have been addressing these issues periodically since December 2003, and in the current poll we revisited these crucial issues following the diplomatic stalemate throughout 2011.
Findings, as the summary table below shows, indicate that the public rejects three items in the package and accept the other three. The following is a summary of the items and the attitudes to each:
(1) Final Borders and Territorial Exchange: 63% support or strongly support and 36% oppose or strongly oppose an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with the exception of some settlement areas in less than 3% of the West Bank that would be swapped with an equal amount of territory from Israel in accordance with a map that was presented to the Palestinian respondents. The map was identical to that presented to respondents in December 2010, when support for this compromise, with its map, stood at 49% and opposition at 50%.
(2) Refugees: 45% support and 53% oppose a refugee settlement in which both sides agree that the solution will be based on UN resolutions 194 and 242. The refugees would 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 these states. As a base for its decision Israel will consider the average number of refugees admitted to third countries like Australia, Canada, Europe, and others. All refugees would be entitled to compensation for their “refugeehood” and loss of property. In December 2010, 41% agreed with an identical compromise while 57% opposed it.
(3) Jerusalem: 40% support and 59% oppose a Jerusalem compromise in which East Jerusalem would become the capital of the Palestinian state with Arab neighborhoods coming under Palestinian sovereignty and Jewish neighborhoods coming under Israeli 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 would come under Israeli sovereignty. In December 2010, an identical compromise obtained 36% support and 63% opposition.
(4) Demilitarized Palestinian State: 32% support and 67% oppose the establishment of an independent Palestinian state that would have no army, but would have a strong security force and would have a multinational force deployed in it to ensure its security and safety. Israel and Palestine would be committed to end all forms of violence directed against each other. A similar compromise received in December 2010, 24% support, and opposition reached 74%. This item receives the lowest level of support by Palestinians. Unlike the refugees and Jerusalem components, this issue has not received due attention in public discourse, as it should, since it may become a major stumbling block in the efforts to reach a settlement.
(5) Security Arrangements: 50% support and 49% oppose a compromise whereby the Palestinian state would have sovereignty over its land, water, and airspace, but Israel would have the right to use the Palestinian airspace for training purposes, and would maintain two early warning stations in the West Bank for 15 years. A multinational force would remain in the Palestinian state and in its border crossings for an indefinite period of time. The task of the multinational force would be to monitor the implementation of the agreement, and to monitor territorial borders and coast of the Palestinian state including the presence at its international crossings. In December 2010, 38% of the Palestinians supported this parameter while 61% opposed it.
(6) End of Conflict: 63% support and 35% oppose a compromise on ending the conflict that would state that 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. The comparable figures in December 2010 were 58% support and 41% opposition.
Summary Table: Support for Clinton’s Permanent Settlement/ Geneva Initiative Framework 2003-2011
1) Borders and Territorial Exchange
4) Demilitarized State
5) Security Arrangements
6) End of Conflict
Support for the package is higher in the Gaza Strip, standing at 53%, than in the West Bank, standing at 47%, among supporters of the peace process (54%) compared to those opposed to the peace process (37%), among those who would vote for Fateh, third parties, and those who will not participate in new elections (62%, 54%, and 47% respectively) compared to those who would vote for Hamas or those who are undecided regarding whom they will vote for (36% and 43% respectively), among those whose age is between 18 and 28 years (54%) compared to those who are over 50 years of age (44%), and among those who use the internet on daily basis (59%) compared to those who use it once a month or never (38%).
Findings also show that 51% of the public believe that a majority among Palestinians supports a settlement along these lines while 41% believe a majority opposes it and 8% say it does not know the position of the majority. Yet, only 30% believe that a majority among Israelis support such a package while 61% believe a majority of Israelis opposes it. Perhaps for this reason, and others, only 37% believe that it is possible these days to reach a permanent settlement with Israel while 62% believe that it is impossible to reach such a settlement. Moreover, 63% of the public is pessimistic about the chances for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel in the next five years: 63% believe chances to be slim or non existent and 36% believe them to be medium or high.
(4) Alternatives to Negotiations and Going to the UN:
- 78% support and 20% oppose President Abbas’ position which views as useless any negotiations with Israel without a prior agreement on terms of reference and a settlement freeze and that therefore, Palestinians need to go to the UN to obtain international recognition of their state.
- In the absence of negotiations, 78% supports going to the UN Security Council to obtain membership, 61% supports resort to popular non violent resistance, and 58% supports a unilateral declaration of statehood; but only 28% support abandoning the two state solution in favor of one state solution, 34% support the dissolution of the PA, and 41% support return to armed intifada and confrontations.
- A mere declaration of statehood will not change any thing on the ground or make things worse in the eyes of 72% of the public, therefore, when declaring a state, two thirds say the PA should impose its sovereignty even if such a step leads to a clash with occupation and settlers.
- When declaring a state or after UN General Assembly vote recognizing Palestine as a state, 71% want the PA to assert control over the Allenby Bridge crossing with Jordan even if such a step leads to suspension of travel across the bridge.
- Only 36% believe that popular non violent resistance will be able to end occupation or stop settlement construction, but 52% believe that large scale peaceful demonstrations would contribute to speeding up the end of occupation.
- 68% believe that there is a practical benefit for Palestinians in winning state membership in UNESCO and 28% do not believe that.
- 63% believe the Palestinian side should seek recognition of Palestine as an observer state from the UN General Assembly and 31% do not believe that.
- 77% believe that Israel will suspend transfer of customs’ funds to the PA if the UN General Assembly recognized Palestine as a state and 20% do not believe that.
- After a UN General Assembly recognition of Palestine as a state, the public is split into three groups on the best means of forcing Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories: 32% for negotiations, 31% for massive peaceful demonstrations, and 30% for armed attacks
Findings show an overwhelming support for the position advanced by PA president seeing no point in returning to negotiations with Israel without a prior Israeli acceptance of a specific term of reference (i.e., acceptance of the 1967 borders with swap) and settlement freeze and that in the meanwhile the PA should go to the UN seeking an international recognition of a Palestinian state. This position is supported by 78% and opposed by 20%. Support increases in the West Bank to 83% and decreases in the Gaza Strip to 70%. We proposed six different options for Palestinians as alternatives to negotiations: a majority supported three, going to the UN Security Council, resort to popular non violent resistance, and unilateral declaration of statehood, while opposing the other three, dissolution of the PA, abandoning the two state solution, and return to armed intifada. The biggest level of support (78%) went to going to the UN Security Council to obtain membership while 22% expressed opposition. A majority of 61% also supported resort to popular non violent resistance while 38% opposed it. 58% supported a unilateral declaration of statehood while 41% opposed it. By contrast, only 28% supported abandoning the two state solution in favor of a one state solution while 71% opposed it. Moreover, only 34% supported the option of dissolving the PA and 65% opposed it. Finally, 41% supported and 58% opposed return to armed intifada.
Findings show that a large majority (72%) believes that a mere declaration of statehood will not change any thing on the ground or that it will make things worse; therefore, when declaring a state, two thirds of the public want the PA to exercise sovereignty throughout the entire West Bank even if such a measure leads to a confrontation between the PA and the Israeli army and settlers. Moreover, an international recognition of Palestine as a state, requires in the eyes of 71% of the public a Palestinian assertion of sovereignty over the Allenby crossing with Jordan even if such a step leads to the closure of the crossing. Findings also show that while 61% do not believe that popular non violent resistance by itself is capable of ending occupation or stopping settlement construction, 52% believe that large scale peaceful demonstrations can contribute to speeding up the ending of occupation.
Findings also show that a majority (63%) is in favor of going to the UN General Assembly today to obtain recognition of Palestine as an observer state while 31% oppose this step. An overwhelming majority of 77% believes that Israel will suspend transfer of custom funds to the PA if the UN General Assembly recognized Palestine as a state. After such recognition, findings show Palestinians divided into three groups over the best means of forcing Israel to end its occupation: 32% want to return to negotiations, 31% want large scale popular non violent demonstrations, and 30% want a return to armed attacks.
(5) Most vital Palestinian goals and the main problems confronting Palestinians today:
- 48% believes that the first most vital Palestinian goal should be to end Israeli occupation and build a state and 30% believe it should be to obtain the right of return
- 28% believe the first problem confronting Palestinians today is the continuation of Israeli occupation while 32% believe it is poverty and unemployment
48% believes 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, 30% believe the first most vital goal should be to obtain the right of return of refugees to their 1948 towns and villages, 14% believe that it should be to build a pious or moral individual and a religious society, one that applies all Islamic teachings, and 9% 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, at the peak of Palestinian UN statehood bid 59% viewed statehood within the 1967 borders as the most vital goal. It is likely that the stalemate in the UN drive to gain statehood and membership has somewhat reduced public interest in it compared to the situation three months ago.
The most serious problem confronting Palestinians today is the spread of poverty and unemployment, selected by 32% of the public, while 28% believe that it is the continuation of occupation and settlement activities. Among Gazans, the top three problems are: the continuation of occupation, selected by 30%, followed by the continuation of the siege on the Gaza Strip and poverty and unemployment (26% for each). Among West Bankers, the top three problems are: poverty and unemployment, with 36% selecting it, followed by continuation of occupation, selected by 27%, and corruption, selected by (27%).
(6) Regional Issues: Egypt and Iran
- Despite the expected electoral victory of Islamists in Egypt, 60% expect the continuation of the implementation of the Egyptian peace treaty with Israel while 39% expect the treaty to be annulled
- 48% expect and 48% do not expect Israel to carry out a military strike against Iran in the coming months
- After an Israeli military strike against Iran, 56% expect a combined Iranian-Hizballah military response and 23% expect an Iranian response only
Findings show that a majority of the Palestinian public (60%) does not believe that an expected Islamist electoral victory will lead to a meaningful change in the relationship between Egypt and Israel, particularly regarding the peace treaty between the two sides, while 39% believe it will lead to a big change including the annulment of the peace treaty.
Findings also show that in light of the talk about the Iranian nuclear developments, the public is divided into two halves regarding the chances of an Israeli military strike to destroy the Iranian nuclear facilities. If indeed Israel does carry out such a strike, 56% believe that Iran and Hizballah together will respond by carrying out a military retaliation against Israel, 23% believe that Iran alone will retaliate against Israel, 9% believe that Hizballah alone will retaliate, and 9% believe that neither Iran nor Hizballah will retaliate. Findings also show that 48% of the public believe that Hamas and Islamic Jihad should retaliate against Israel if it carries out a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.