Success of reconciliation creates great expectations and restores confidence in the PA; meanwhile a majority does not view reconciliation as closing the door to negotiations with Israel; to the contrary, a majority supports the two-state solution and wants the conciliation government to accept existing agreements with Israel.
This joint survey was conducted with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Ramallah
5-7 June 2014
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 5-7 June 2014. The period before the poll witnessed the success of the reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas and the formation of a reconciliation government headed by Rami al Hamdallah. Israeli-Palestinian negotiations were suspended for more than two months before the conduct of the poll and the US efforts in this regard came to a halt. This press release covers public perception of the process of internal reconciliation, public evaluation of the general West Bank and Gaza conditions, elections, public satisfaction with the performance of President Mahmud Abbas, the internal balance of power between Fateh and Hamas, and others. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Findings of the second quarter of 2014 show a great deal of public optimism about matters related to the reconciliation agreement: a majority believes the agreement will be implemented, that economic conditions will improve, that the Rafah crossing with Egypt will reopen, that the state of public liberties will improve and detentions on political grounds will stop, that elections will take place on time after six months, and that the Arab states will fulfill their promises to financially support the Palestinian Authority. Indeed, the success of reconciliation efforts have restored confidence in the PA, as the public now sees it as an accomplishment that must be protected.
Findings show that a majority favors changing the status quo at the Rafah crossing with Egypt by deploying presidential guard units at that crossing. Yet, the majority also favors continued Hamas control over security in the Gaza Strip on temporary basis up until the holding of elections. Findings also show that Hamas’ popularity has increased somewhat. Similarly, public satisfaction with Abbas has increased; if presidential elections were to take place today, he would win.
Findings also show that the public does not view the implementation of reconciliation as an impediment to negotiations with Israel. To the contrary, a majority wants the conciliation government to accept existing agreements with Israel and believes that the inclusion of Hamas into the PLO means the indirect acceptance by the Islamist faction of these agreements. In fact, support for the two-state solution has increased. Yet, in light of the suspension of peace talks with Israel, the overwhelming majority supports joining international organizations, including the International Criminal Court, and waging a non-violent resistance campaign against Israeli occupation. Nonetheless, a majority continues to reject a return to armed intifada, the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority, or the abandonment of the two-state solution in favor of a one-state solution.
(1) Conciliation government, the future of reconciliation and relations with Israel:
- Optimism about reconciliation: 62% think it will succeed, 61% think the Rafah crossing with Egypt will open, 53% think economic conditions will improve, 51% think conditions of freedoms and liberties will improve, and land 59% think elections will take place as scheduled.
- 52% want to deploy the Presidential Guard at the Rafah crossing with Egypt, but 66% agree that Hamas should continue to have control over police and security in the Gaza Strip.
- One third of the public is opposed to the dissolution of armed groups in the Gaza Strip while the rest support such dissolution under certain conditions.
- 42% believe that Hamas’ way is the best way to end occupation and establish a state while 39% believe Abbas’ way is the best way.
62% believe that reconciliation will succeed and the split will not return while 34% believe the opposite to be true. Optimism is higher in the Gaza Strip, reaching 74%, and lower in the West Bank, standing at 54%. Moreover, reconciliation restores some confidence in the PA: Half of the public believes that the PA is an accomplishment for the Palestinian people while 45% believe that it is a burden on the Palestinian people. Three months ago, only 25% said that the PA, in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, was an accomplishment. At that time an additional 15% said the PA in the West Bank only was an accomplishment while 13% said the PA in the Gaza Strip only was an accomplishment. Optimism is evident in the belief of 61% that the Rafah Crossing with Egypt will reopen, of 53% that economic conditions will improve soon, and of 51% that the status of public liberties will improve and that political detentions will soon be a thing of the past. Moreover, a majority of 59% believes that elections will take place as scheduled, six months from today, and 71% want Hamas to take part in the presidential elections in addition to the legislative and the Palestinian National Council elections. The belief that reconciliation will succeed can also be seen in the high confidence (61%) the public has in the conciliation government, in the high level of satisfaction (66%) with the speed by which the reconciliation agreement is being implemented by both sides, and the belief of the majority (54%) that Arab States will fulfill their promises to financially support the PA.
A majority of 52% prefers to see the Presidential Guard in charge of the Rafah crossing with Egypt, while 29% prefer the continuation of the status quo. By contrast, 66% favor continued security control by Hamas in the Gaza Strip on temporary basis until the holding of elections in six months and 30% oppose it. Support for deploying the Presidential Guard at the Rafah crossing is higher in the West Bank (55%) than in the Gaza Strip (48%), among women (55%) compared to men (50%), among supporters of Fatah and third parties (76% and 63% respectively) compared to supporters of Hamas (32%), among the somewhat religious and the un-religious (59% and 60% respectively) compared to the religious (45%), and among supporters of the peace process (62%) compared to those who are opposed to the peace process (29%).
By contrast, support for continued Hamas control over police and security in the Gaza Strip until the elections is higher among Hamas supporters (90%) compared to supporters of Fatah and third parties (55% and 54% respectively), among the religious (73%) compared to the somewhat religious and the un-religious (62% and 50% respectively), among those who oppose the peace process (78%) compared to supporters of the peace process (65%), among holders of BA degree (69%) compared to illiterates (60%), and among the married (69%) compared to the unmarried (59%).
The largest percentage believes that Hamas and Fatah have made just the required concessions in order to facilitate reconciliation (45% and 42% respectively) but 28% believe that Hamas has made fewer concessions than required and 33% believe that Fatah has made fewer concessions than required. By contrast, only 14% believe that Hamas’ concessions were too many, and 11% believe that Fatah’s concessions were too many. It is interesting to note that 64% of Hamas’ likely voters believe that it has made just the required or less than the required concessions, while 71% of Fatah supporters believe the same about Fatah’s concessions. Most interesting, while one third of Hamas’ likely voters believes that it has made too many concessions, only 6% of Fatah’s likely voters believe that Fatah has made too many concessions.
One third of the public is opposed to the disbanding of armed groups in the Gaza Strip under any circumstances, while 19% say they support this measure now that a conciliation government has been formed; 12% say they would support such a measure but only after the upcoming elections; 16% say they support it but only after the ending of the Gaza siege and 15% say they support it but only after reaching a peace agreement with Israel. Support for disbanding armed groups in the Gaza Strip under any conditions increases among Gazans (35%) compared to West Bankers (32%), among men (36%) compared to women (29%), among supporters of Hamas (54%) compared to supporters of Fatah and supporters of third parties (24% and 27% respectively), among the religious (38%) compared to the somewhat religious and the un-religious (28% and 32% respectively), among those who are opposed to the peace process (59%) compared to those who support the peace process (24%), among refugees (37%) compared to the non-refugees (29%), and among holders of BA degree (37%) compared to the illiterates (31%).
Belief that Hamas’ way is the best way to end the occupation and establish a Palestinian state stands at 42%, while belief that Abbas’ way is the best stands at 39%. Three months ago, these findings stood at 39% and 36% respectively. Support for Hamas’ way is higher in the Gaza Strip (46%) compared to the West Bank (40%), among supporters of Hamas (88%) compared to supporters of Fatah and third parties (13% and 41% respectively), among the religious (51%) compared to the somewhat religious and the un-religious (35% and 26% respectively), among those who oppose the peace process (73%) compared to those who support the peace process (31%), among holders of BA degree (46%) compared to illiterates (33%), and among men (44%) compared to women (41%).
(2) Presidential and Legislative Elections:
- In presidential elections, Mahmoud Abbas wins by 53% of the vote and Haniyeh receives 41% of the vote.
- If the competition was between Marwan Barghouti and Haniyeh, the former receives the support of 58% and the latter 38%.
- 52% support and 39% oppose a proposal to appoint a vice president. Among the prominent candidates: Marwan Barghouti followed by Rami al Hamdallah, Ismail Haniyeh, and Saeb Erikat.
- In new parliamentary elections, Fatah receives the support of 40% and Hamas 32%.
If new presidential elections are held today and only two were nominated, Abbas would receive 53% and Haniyeh 41% of the vote of those participating. The rate of participation in such elections would reach 67%. Three months ago, findings were identical except for the rate of participation which stood then at 60%. In this poll, in the Gaza Strip, Abbas receives 52% and Haniyeh 46%, and in the West Bank Abbas receives 54% and Haniyeh 38%. If presidential elections were between Marwan Barghouti and Haniyeh, the former would receive 58% and the latter would receive 38% of the participants’ votes. The rate of participation in this case would reach 71%. In our March 2014 poll Barghouti received 60% of the vote and Haniyeh 34%. If presidential elections were between three: Mahmud Abbas, Marwan Barghouti and Ismail Haniyeh, Barghouti would receive the largest percentage (36%) followed by Haniyeh (33%), and Abbas (28%). The rate of participation in this case would reach 75%.
52% support and 39% oppose the appointment of a vice president to Abbas. Among those who support appointing a vice president, Marwan Barghouti is the favorite, selected by 24% in an open question, followed by Rami al Hamdallah who was selected by 17%, Ismail Haniyeh by 16%, Saeb Erikat, Mohamad Dahlan, and Mustafa Barghouti (6% each), Salam Fayyad by 5%, and Khalid Misha’al and Azzam al Ahmad by 4% each.
If new legislative elections are held today with the participation of all factions, 74% say they would participate in such elections. Of those who would participate, 32% say they would vote for Hamas and 40% say they would vote for Fatah, 9% would vote for all other third parties combined, and 19% are undecided. Three months ago, vote for Hamas stood at 28% and for Fatah at 43%. Vote for Hamas in the Gaza Strip stands in this poll at 35% and in the West Bank at 30%. Vote for Fatah in the Gaza Strip stands in this poll at 42% and in the West Bank at 39%. These results indicate an increase in the vote for Hamas in the West Bank which stood at 23% last December. Fatah, on the other hand, increased its popularity in the Gaza Strip by four percentage points while also losing six percentage points in the West Bank.
(3) Domestic Conditions:
- Positive evaluation of conditions in the Gaza Strip rises to 24% and in the West Bank to 33%.
- 40% of Gazans and 27% of West Bankers expect economic conditions to improve in the next few years.
- Belief that corruption exists in the PA stands at 81%; 25% say there is freedom of press in the West Bank and 16% believe there is freedom of press in the Gaza Strip.
- Perception of personal safety and security stands at 64% among residents of the Gaza Strip and 51% among residents of the West Bank.
- Satisfaction with the performance of president Abbas rises from 46% to 50%.
Positive evaluation of conditions in the Gaza Strip rises to 24% in this poll compared, to 15% three months ago. 52% say conditions in the Gaza Strip are bad or very bad. Positive evaluation of conditions in the West Bank rises from 30% three months ago to 33% today. Percentage of those who believe conditions in the West Bank are bad or very bad deceases from 42% to 37% during the same period.
We asked West Bank and Gaza publics about their expectations regarding economic conditions in their respective areas in the next few years: 27% of the West Bankers expected better conditions, and 40% expected worse conditions. In the Gaza Strip, 57% expected better conditions, and only 9% expected worse conditions. These findings indicate a widespread optimism, particularly in the Gaza Strip, that reconciliation will bring a better economic future; three months ago, only 19% of West Bankers and 28% of Gazans said that their economic conditions will be better in the next few years.
Perception of corruption in PA institutions stands at 81%. Furthermore, 25% say there is, and 40% say there is to some extent, press freedom in the West Bank. By contrast, 16% say there is, and 36% say there is to some extent, press freedom in the Gaza Strip. 32% of the Palestinian public say people in the West Bank can criticize the authority in the West Bank without fear. By contrast, 28% of the public say people in the Gaza Strip can criticize the authorities in Gaza without fear. In our last poll, three months ago, only 22% said people in the Gaza Strip can criticize the authorities without fear.
Perception of safety and security in the West Bank stands at 51% and in the Gaza Strip at 64%. Three months ago these percentages stood at 51% in the West Bank and 56% in the Gaza Strip. Findings show that the percentage of Gazans who say they seek immigration to other countries stands at 41%; in the West Bank, the percentage stands at 24%. Last March these percentages stood at 44% and 22% respectively.
Percentage of satisfaction with the performance of President Abbas increases from 46% three months ago to 50% in this poll.
(4) Peace Process:
- A majority of the public sees no contradiction between reconciliation and the peace process
- 59% believe that the conciliation government should accept existing agreements signed by the PLO with Israel
- Support for the two-state solution rises from 51% to 54% but 61% believe that it is no longer practical due to settlements’ expansion.
- 50% support and 46% oppose the Arab Peace Initiative; but only 40% support recognition of Israel as the state for the Jewish people
- Now that negotiations have been suspended, 81% support joining additional international organizations and 69% support waging a non-violent campaign against Israeli occupation
- 55% oppose a UN Security Council resolution setting the borders of the Palestinian state and imposing it on the two sides and 52% oppose an international trusteeship over Palestine.
- 81% are worried of being hurt by the Israeli army or seeing their homes demolished or land confiscated.
Findings show that the Palestinian public does not see a contradiction between Fatah-Hamas reconciliation and the peace process; to the contrary, the public views reconciliation as a positive contribution to the peace process. For example, majority of 59% does not view the implementation of reconciliation as closing the door to negotiations with Israel, while 37% believe it puts an end to negotiations. Indeed, an identical percentage (59%) believes that the conciliation government should accept existing agreements signed by the PLO and Israel while 36% oppose that. Similarly, 53% believe that Hamas’ entry into the PLO means an indirect acceptance by the movement of the PLO program and the agreements signed with Israel; 42% reject that.
The belief that the conciliation government should accept existing agreements with Israel increases in the West Bank (63%) compared to the Gaza Strip (52%), among women (61%) compared to men (57%), among supporters of Fatah and third parties (78% and 50% respectively) compared to supporters of Hamas (38%), among the somewhat religious and the un-religious (64% and 68% respectively) compared to the religious (53%), among supporters of the peace process (70%) compared those who oppose the peace process (34%), and among those who work in the public sector (63%) compared to those who work in the private sector (57%).
Findings also show that reconciliation did not weaken popular support for the two-state solution; to the contrary, support for this solution increased from 51% in March to 54% in this poll. 46% oppose this solution and 61% say that it is no longer practical due to settlements’ expansion; 37% say it is still practical. Furthermore, 71% believe the chances for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel in the next five years are slim or non-existent and 28% say the chances are medium or high. Nonetheless, findings show that support for a one-state solution in which Palestinians and Jews enjoy equality does not exceed 31%; 68% oppose the one-state solution.
Support for the Arab Peace Initiative stands at 50% and opposition at 46%. A majority of 59% rejects and 40% accepts recognition of Israel as the state for the Jewish people.
Findings show that given the suspension of negotiations with Israel, an overwhelming majority of 81% supports joining international organizations and 69% support a popular non-violent resistance campaign against occupation. Findings also show that 58% oppose and 41% support a return to an armed intifada. 60% reject the dissolution of the PA while 38% support it.
In exploring the views on giving international organizations greater role in resolving the conflict with Israel, the poll shows that more than three quarters (76%) support joining the International Criminal Court even if such a step led to the imposition of American and Israeli financial sanctions on the PA. 22% oppose this step. Yet a majority of 55% is opposed to a proposal in which the UN Security Council would set and impose, on the two sides, the borders of the Palestinian state; a substantial minority of 42% supports the proposal. Similarly a majority of 52% opposes and 46% support the idea of placing the West Bank and the Gaza Strip under a temporary UN trusteeship. A majority of 65% believes that the international community will not be ready to impose economic sanctions on Israel even if occupation lasts for a long time; 32% believe the international community will indeed impose such sanctions.
The percentage of those who are worried that they would be hurt by Israel or that their land would be confiscated or homes demolished stands at 77%. Indeed, a larger percentage (81%) believes that Israel’s long term aspiration is to annex the lands occupied in 1967 and to expel their population or deny them their rights. On the other hand, when asked about the long term aspiration of the PA and the PLO, almost two thirds (65%) believed that it is to recover all or parts of the land occupied in 1967.
(5) Most vital Palestinian goals and the main problems confronting Palestinians today:
- 46% believe that end of occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state is the most vital Palestinian priority.
- 32% define unemployment and poverty as the most serious problem confronting Palestinians today; 26% view continuation of occupation as the most serious problem.
46% 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, 30% believe the first most vital goal should be to obtain the right of return of refugees to their 1948 towns and villages, 15% 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, 42% said ending occupation and building a state was most vital goal, and 34% said the most vital goal was the right of return.
The most serious problem confronting Palestinian society today is the spread of poverty and unemployment in the eyes of 32% of the public, while 26% say it is the continuation of occupation and settlement activities; 23% believe the most serious problem is corruption in some public institutions, and 15% believe it is the siege and the closure of the Gaza border crossings.....[Full Report]