Joint Palestinian-Israeli Public Opinion Poll
With Support for a Permanent Deal Along the Clinton Parameters Dropping among Israelis and Palestinians, only 46% of the Israelis Support Olmert’s Realignment Plan and only 47% of the Palestinians would Approve the Prisoners’ Document in a Referendum
These are the results of the most recent poll conducted June12-17 jointly by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah
The joint poll examined the impact of the recent political developments in Israel and the Palestinian Authority on Israeli and Palestinian attitudes regarding President Clinton’s package for a Palestinian-Israeli final status settlement. This is the first time we revisit these issues after Hamas victory in the Palestinian Parliamentary elections and the establishment of Hamas government in the PA. The findings indicate a noticeable decrease in support among Israelis and some decrease in support among Palestinians compared to six months ago. Among Israelis a majority of 55% support these parameters as a combined overall package, down from 64% support in December 2005. Among Palestinians, 44% support the package now, compared to 46% in December 2005. In December 2004, a majority of Israelis (64%) and Palestinians (54%) supported the same parameters as a package.
The poll further examined Palestinians’ and Israelis’ reactions to Abu Mazin’s call for a referendum in the PA over the prisoners’ national conciliation document, and Israelis’ reactions to Olmert’s realignment plan. With regard to the prisoners’ document, in the PA an overwhelming majority of Palestinians (74%) supports the national conciliation document, also known as the prisoners’ document, and 23% oppose it. Despite the overwhelming support for the prisoners’ document, if the referendum were to take place today, only 47% would vote in favor of it and 44% would vote against it. 9% remain undecided. As to Israelis, 63% are familiar with the prisoners’ document. Of them only 35% believe it can serve as basis for negotiations with the Palestinians.
As to Olmert’s Realignment plan, 46% of the Israelis support and 50% oppose his plan to evacuate within a few years most of the settlements in West Bank, while realigning into large blocks of settlements along the line of the separation fence. While 54% of the Israelis believe that the outcome of the last election grants Olmert a mandate to carry out his realignment plan, 58% believe a referendum should be carried out over this plan. It should be kept in mind that Israelis usually support calls for referenda as they provide the public a voice in policy making. Nevertheless, this might indicate that the struggle over the legitimacy of Olmert’s plan is not over.
Other issues examined in this poll are attitudes towards mutual recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish People and Palestine as the state of the Palestinian People and attitudes towards reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis.
Total Palestinian sample size is 1270 adults interviewed face-to-face in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 127 randomly selected locations between June 15 and 18, 2006. The margin of error is 3%. The Israeli sample includes 609 adult Israelis interviewed by phone in Hebrew Arabic or Russian between June 12 and 15, 2006. The margin of error is 4%. The poll was planned and supervised by Dr. Yaacov Shamir, the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace and the Department of Communication and Journalism at the Hebrew University and Dr. Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR).
For further details on the Palestinian survey contact PSR director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki or Walid Ladadweh, at tel. 02-296 4933 or email email@example.com. On the Israeli survey, contact Dr. Yaacov Shamir at tel. 03-6419429 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(A) Clinton Parameters
The Clinton parameters for a Palestinian-Israeli permanent settlement were presented by President Clinton at a meeting with Israeli and Palestinian officials December 23, 2000, following the collapse of the July 2000 Camp David summit. These parameters address the most fundamental issues which underlie the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, including (1) Final borders and territorial exchange, (2) Refugees, (3) Jerusalem, (4) A demilitarized Palestinian state, (5) Security arrangements, and (6) End of conflict. We addressed these issues three times before, in December 2003, December 2004, and December 2005. In the current poll we revisit these crucial issues for the first time after the establishment of Hamas government in the Palestinian Authority.
The findings indicate a noticeable decrease in support among Israelis and some decrease in support among Palestinians compared to six months ago. Among Israelis a majority of 55% support these parameters as a combined overall package, a decrease of 9 percentage points from the 64% support in December 2005. Among Palestinians 44% support the package now compared to 46% in December 2005.
Apparently these results reflect the intensification of the conflict and the ongoing violence between the two sides. The decline in support among Israelis may also be attributed to the increased pessimism with regard to the prospects for reaching a settlement in the conflict following the rise of Hamas to power in the PA.
(1) Final Borders and Territorial Exchange
Among Palestinians 54% support or strongly support and 44% 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 2005. At that time, support for this compromise, with its map, stood at 55% and opposition at 42%.
Among Israelis 47% support and 47% oppose a Palestinian state in the entirety of Judea Samaria and the Gaza Strip except for several large blocks of settlements in 3% of the West Bank which will be annexed to Israel.Israel will evacuate all other settlements, and the Palestinians will receive in return territory of similar size along the Gaza Strip. In December 2005, 53% of the Israelis supported this component while 42% opposed it.
Among Palestinians, 41% support and 55% 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 likeAustralia, Canada, Europe, and others. All refugees would be entitled to compensation for their “refugeehood” and loss of property. In December 2005, 40% agreed with an identical compromise while 57% opposed it.
Among Israelis 43% support such an arrangement and 53% oppose it, just as in December 2005.
In the Palestinian public 35% support and 63% 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 2005, an identical compromise obtained similar results with 33% supporting it and 65% opposing it.
Among Israelis, 37% agree and 60% disagree to this arrangement in which the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem including the old city and the Temple Mount will come under Palestinian sovereignty, the Jewish neighborhoods including the Jewish quarter and the Wailing Wall will come under Israeli sovereignty, East Jerusalem will become the capital of the Palestinian state and West Jerusalem the capital of Israel. In December 2005, 38% supported this arrangement and 60% opposed it.
Apparently, the positions of both sides on the most complex issues in Clinton’s package - Jerusalem and refugees - exhibit much stability over time.
(4) Demilitarized Palestinian State
Among Palestinians 25% support and 74% 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 2005 the support of 20% and the opposition of 78%.
Among Israelis 63% agree and 36% disagree to this arrangement compared to 69% who agreed and 30% who disagreed to it in December 2005.
(5) Security Arrangements
In the Palestinian public 40% support and 57% 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 2005, 43% of the Palestinians supported this parameter while 55% opposed it.
In the Israeli public 52% support and 44% oppose this arrangement compared to 62% who supported it and 33% who opposed it in December 2005. The decline in support in both publics for this component probably reflects security concerns elevated by the recently renewed violence in the Gaza strip.
(6) End of Conflict.
In the Palestinian public 58% support and 40% 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. An identical question received in December 2005 the support of 64% and the opposition of 34%.
In the Israeli public 70% support and 27% oppose this component in the final status framework. In December 2005, 80% of the Israelis supported it while 18% opposed it.
The Whole Package
Among Palestinians 44% support and 53% oppose the whole package combining the elements as one permanent status settlement. In December 2005, 46% supported and 50% opposed such a package.
Among Israelis 55% support and 40% oppose all the above features together taken as one combined package. This constitutes a noticeable decline in support for the Clinton’s final status settlement package compared to six months ago when support stood at 64% support with 33% opposition.
41% of the Israelis know that a majority in their society supports the Clinton parameters as a combined final status package; 44% believe that the majority opposes it. This level of awareness indicates that despite the solid support for the package it has not acquired widespread normative legitimacy in the Israeli public. Among Palestinians 43% believe now that a majority in their society supports the Clinton parameters as a combined final status package and 44% believe that the majority opposes it. In addition a plurality in both Palestinian and Israeli societies believe that the other side’s majority opposes such a package: 50% of the Israelis and 45% of the Palestinians think so.
SUMMARY TABLE OF THE FINDINGS
Support for Clinton’s Permanent Settlement Framework Among Israelis and Palestinians (2003-2006)
1) Borders &Territorial Exchange
4) Demilitarized Palestinian State
5) Security Arrangements
6) End of Conflict
(B) Olmert’s Realignment Plan
- Only 46% of the Israelis support Olmert’s plan to evacuate within a few years most of the settlements in Judea ad Samaria, while realigning into large blocks of settlements along the line of the separation fence. 50% oppose it.
- While 54% of the Israelis believe that the outcome of the last election grants Olmert a mandate to carry out his realignment plan, 58% believe a referendum should be carried out over this plan. It should be kept in mind that Israelis usually support calls for referenda as they provide the public a voice in policy making. Nevertheless, this might indicate that the struggle over the legitimacy of Olmert’s plan is not over.
- These results should be seen in the context of the increased violence and Kassam shelling from the Gaza strip and Israelis’ disillusion with the outcome of Sharon’s disengagement there. 54% see the evacuation from theGaza strip a victory for the Palestinian armed struggle. Similarly 54% of the Israelis believe that the Palestinian armed struggle has achieved Palestinian national and political goals that negotiations could not achieve.
(C) Prisoners’ Document and Call for Referendum in the PA
- The overwhelming majority of Palestinians (74%) supports the national conciliation document, also known as the prisoners’ document, as one package, and 23% oppose it. But support for the conduct of a referendum on the prisoners’ document is much less than the support for the document itself with 52% in favor and 43% opposed. Moreover, despite the overwhelming support for the prisoners’ document, if the referendum were to take place today, only 47% would vote in favor of it and 44% would vote against it. 9% remain undecided. Only 56% agree that PA president Mahmud Abbas has the right to call for a referendum on the prisoners’ document and 38% do not agree. And if Hamas called for a boycott of the referendum, 44% would boycott it and 50% would participate in it.
- 48% of the Israelis support negotiations with Hamas if needed in order to reach a compromise agreement with the Palestinians. This percent does not change even if Hamas’ government recognizes Israel indirectly by endorsing the prisoners’ document or the Saudi peace plan. Moreover, only 35% of the Israelis who are familiar with the prisoners’ document (63%) believe it can serve as basis for negotiations.
- 70% among Palestinians think that if Israel agrees to enter peace negotiations with Hamas, the Islamist group should agree to do so and 26% think that it should not. Despite this, two thirds of the Palestinians believe that Hamas should not accept international demands regarding recognition of Israel as a precondition for continued donor support for the Palestinian Authority; 30% believe it should.
(D) Other Conflict Resolution Issues
- A majority of 61% among Palestinians and 67% of the Israelis agrees with the proposal that after reaching a permanent agreement to all issues of the conflict, there would be mutual recognition of Israel as the state for the Jewish people and Palestine as the state for the Palestinian people. 36% and 29% respectively disagree to this step. 54% of the Palestinians and Israelis believe that a majority in their public supports such a proposal, and 34% and 31% respectively think the majority opposes it.
- A majority of 52% of the Palestinians and 63% of the Israelis supports the Road Map; 43% of the Palestinians and 34% of the Israelis oppose it. In this context, 58% among Palestinians - the highest since the Road Map became public - support and 39% oppose collection of arms from Palestinian armed factions as mandated by the Road Map. Moreover, if the collection of arms were restricted to the Gaza Strip, support would increase to 70% and opposition would drop to 27%. Support for the current ceasefire, another requirement of the Road Map, reaches 71% and opposition 27%.
- When a permanent status agreement is reached and a Palestinian state is established and recognized by Israel, 71% among Palestinians and 79% of the Israelis would support reconciliation between the two peoples; 27% and 19% respectively would oppose it.
- After reaching a peace agreement and the establishment of a Palestinian state, belief that reconciliation between the two peoples will be achieved within the next few years or the next generation stands at 26% of the Palestinians while 49% believe that reconciliation is not possible ever. Among Israelis, 50% believe that reconciliation will be achieved within the next few years or the next generation, and 30% think that it is not possible ever. 51% of the Palestinians and 23% of the Israelis believe that a political settlement with the other side is impossible. Only 23% of the Palestinians and 58% of the Israelis believe that such a settlement is possible within the next few years or the next generation.
- With regard to short term expectations, only 13% of the Palestinians and 6% of the Israelis expect that the two sides will go back to negotiations and that armed confrontations will stop. On the other hand 39% and 40% respectively believe that armed confrontations will not stop and the two sides will not return to negotiations. 38% of the Palestinians and 48% of the Israelis believe that the two sides will return to negotiations but some armed confrontations will continue.
- Support for armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel continues to rise. Today 56% support it and 42% oppose it. Support for such attacks stood at 52% last March and 40% last December while opposition stood at 45% and 58% respectively. Similarly, findings show that support for the bombing attack that took place last April stood at 69% and opposition at 27%. Support in September 2005 for the last suicide attack before the one in April, the one that took place in August 2005, stood at 37% and opposition at 56%. It is worth mentioning that this poll was conducted during the period in which Israeli shelling of the Gaza Strip led to a high number of casualties among Palestinian civilians at a Gaza beach and in populated areas.
- But while findings show a significant increase in support for violence against Israelis based on emotional drives, a significant drop has been registered in this poll in the percentage of those who believe that armed confrontations have helped Palestinians achieve national rights in ways that negotiations could not from 69% last March to 54% in this poll.
(E) Palestinian Domestic Balance of Power
- About five months after the parliamentary elections, the gap between Fateh and Hamas narrows to zero. If new elections were held today Fateh’s list would receive the support of 39%, Change and Reform 39%, and all other lists 9%. 13% remain undecided. Three months ago, the gap between Fateh and Hamas stood at 8 percentage points in favor of Hamas with 47% voting for Change and Reform and 39% for Fateh.
- Satisfaction with the performance of Mahmud Abbas drops from 61% last March to 53% in this poll. If new elections were held, 30% say they would vote for Abbas, 14% for current prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, 4% for Marwan Barghouti, and 2% each for Mahmud Zahhar, Mustafa Barghouti, and Khalid Misha’al. 38% say they do not know to whom they would give their vote. In a vote for a vice president, the percentage of undecided is 49% while 8% say they would vote for Ismail Haniyeh, 7% for Mahmud Zahhar, 6% for Dahlan, 5% for Marwan Barghouti, 3% for Saeb Erikat, and 2% each for Farouq Qaddumi and Mustafa Barghouti. The two questions on vote intentions were open questions, with no list of names provided.