Joint Palestinian-Israeli Public Opinion Poll
IN THE POST ARAFAT ERA, PALESTINIANS AND ISRAELIS ARE MORE WILLING TO COMPROMISE: FOR THE FIRST TIME MAJORITY SUPPORT FOR CLINTON’S PERMANENT STATUS SETTLEMENT PACKAGE
These are the results of the most recent poll conducted jointly by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Total Palestinian sample size is 1319 adults interviewed face-to-face in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 120 randomly selected locations between December 30 and 31, 2004.The margin of error is 3%.The Israeli sample includes 501 adult Israelis interviewed by phone in Hebrew Arabic or Russian between January 9 and 10 2005. The margin of error is 4.5%.
The poll was planned and supervised by Dr. Yaacov Shamir, Truman Fellow and professor of Communication and Journalism at the Hebrew University, currently at the US Institute of Peace, and Dr. Khalil Shikaki, professor of Political Science and director of PSR.
For further details on the Palestinian survey contact PSR director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki or Ayoub Mustafa, at tel 02-296 4933 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. On the Israeli survey, contact Dr. Yaacov Shamir at tel. 202-429-3870 or email email@example.com.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS:
The joint poll aimed at examining possible changes in Palestinian and Israeli public attitudes in the post Arafat era regarding six basic elements of Israeli-Palestinian permanent status negotiations: (1) Final borders and territorial exchange, (2) Refugees, (3) Jerusalem, (4) A demilitarized Palestinian state, (5) Security arrangements, and (6) End of conflict. Questions regarding similar and identical elements were asked in December 2003. While the 2003 elements were presented as constituting the main components of the Geneva Initiative, this poll made no mention of the Geneva initiative and the elements were presented as constituting a possible permanent status agreement. The poll also sought to revisit a question asked in June 2003 regarding public willingness to accept a settlement that would contain a mutual recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people and Palestine as the state of the Palestinian people. The findings indicate a significant increase toward more dovish views among both Israelis the Palestinians compared to the situation 12 and 18 months ago. Here are the main findings:
(1) Final Borders and Territorial Exchange
Among Palestinians 63% support or strongly support and 35% 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 respondents. The map was identical to that presented to respondents in December 2003. At that time, support for this compromise, with its map, stood at 57% and opposition at 41%.
Among Israelis 55% support and 43% 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. The Palestinians will receive in return territory of similar size along the Gaza Strip. In December 2003, 47% of the Israelis supported this component while 50% opposed it.
Among Palestinians, 46% support and 50% 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 2003, only 25% agreed with an identical compromise while 72% opposed it.
Among Israelis 44% support such an arrangement compared to 35% who supported it in December 2003.
In the Palestinian public 44% support and 54% 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 Israel 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 2003, an identical compromise had a similar reception with 46% supporting it and 52% opposing it.
Among Israelis however, only 39% 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 2003 41% supported this arrangement and 57% opposed it.
(4) Demilitarized Palestinian state
Among Palestinians 27% support and 61% 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 that contained all these elements with the exception of the part on the deployment of a multinational force received in December 2003 the support of 36% and the opposition of 63%.
Among Israelis 68% agree and 30% disagree to this arrangement compared to 61% who agreed and 38% who disagreed to it a year ago in December 2003.
(5) Security Arrangements
In the Palestinian public 53% support and 45% oppose a compromise whereby the Palestinian state would have sovereignty over its land, water, and airspace, but Israel will 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 2003, a similar compromise that contained these same elements with the exception of the part on the multinational force received the support of 23% and the opposition of 76%.
In the Israeli public 61% support and 37% oppose this arrangement compared to 50% who supported it and 46% who opposed it a year ago in December 2003.
(6) End of Conflict
In the Palestinian public 69% support and 29% 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 2003 the support of 42% and the opposition of 55%.
In the Israeli public 76% support and 23% oppose this component in the final status framework. In December 2003, 66% of the Israelis supported it while 33% opposed it.
The Whole Package
Among Palestinians 54% support and 44% oppose the whole package combining the elements as one permanent status settlement. In December 2003, 39% supported and 58% opposed an identical overall combined package presented in the context of the Geneva Initiative.
Among Israelis 64% support and 33% oppose all the above features together taken as one combined package. A year ago only 47% of the Israelis supported and 49% opposed a similar overall package presented in the context of the Geneva initiative.
The main difference between the December 2003 and the December 2004 versions presented to both Israelis and Palestinians is that while the first version stated that the package was that of the Geneva initiative, the second did not. In addition, in presenting the elements of the compromise in December 2004, we merged the parts dealing with the multinational force (presented in 2003 as a separate element) into the two elements of the demilitarized state and the security arrangements.
Mutual Recognition of Identity
Among Palestinians 63% support and 35% oppose the proposal that after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and the settlement of all issues in dispute, including the refugees and Jerusalem issues, there would be a mutual recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people and Palestine as the state of the Palestinian people. In June 2003, only 52% of the Palestinians supported this proposal and 46% opposed it.
Among Israelis 70% support and 16% oppose the mutual recognition of identity proposal. In June 2003, 65% of the Israelis supported it and 33% opposed it.
It should be emphasized that these figures have been obtained after a prolonged period of reduced violence between the two sides and during the Palestinian election campaign. In addition as mentioned above the current survey has been detached from the Geneva initiative context within which the December 2003 questions were asked.
SUMMARY TABLE OF THE FINDINGS
Changes in Support for Clinton’s Permanent Settlement Framework Among Israelis and Palestinians in the last year
Palestinians Dec. 2003
Palestinians Dec. 2004
1) Borders and Territorial Exchange
4) Demilitarized Palestinian State
5) Security Arrangements
6) End of Conflict
Mutual Recognition of Identity