The peace process, Donor Community Assistance, Domestic Palestinian Conditions, Elections for the president and vice-president and political affiliation, Home and Mobile Phones, Computers and Internet, and Satellites and TV Stations
2-4 September 1999
These are the results of opinion poll # 43, conducted by the Center for Palestine Research & Studies, between 2-4 September 1999. The poll deals with the peace process, donor community assistance, domestic Palestinian conditions, elections for the president and vice-president and political affiliation, home and mobile phones, computers and Internet, and Satellites and TV Stations. The total sample size of this poll is 1320 from Palestinians 18 years and older, of which 824 in the West Bank and 496 in the Gaza Strip. The margin of error is + 3% and the non-response rate is 3%.
1. The Peace Process
- Support for the peace process remains high at 75% and opposition at 22%.
- Continued drop in support for violence reaching 36% and opposition to violence reaching 57%
- Only 25% expect the actual implementation of the Wye agreement
- Only 35% believe in the possibility of reaching a mutually acceptable permanent settlement in final status negotiations
- Before the signing of Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, trust in Baraks government dropped from 29% two months ago to 21% in this survey
- A large majority of 85% support a Palestinian referendum on a permanent settlement agreement
The results indicate that support for the peace process remains high among the Palestinians at 75% with opposition to it standing at 22%. The level of support for the peace process dropped to 66% at the end of 1998 and began to increase gradually to reach 75% two months ago. The results show also a new drop in support for violence against Israelis to reach 36% today while opposition to violence stands at 57%. The percentage of support for violence increased to 53% at the end of 1998 after the Israeli freezing of the implementation of the Wye River agreement. But it began to drop gradually to reach 39% two months ago.
Despite these positive changes, Palestinian trust and confidence in the peace process is not high. Only 25% expect Israel to implement the Wye agreement. This poll was conducted during the last two days of negotiations over the implementation of the Wye River Momorandum leading in the last day of the poll fieldwork to the signing of Sharm el-Sheikh Momorandum. The lack of confidence in the peace process can be seen also in the large percentage (55%) of those who believe that it is not possible to reach a mutually acceptable permanent status agreement and in the low percentage (21%) of those who trust the intentions of Baraks government. The percentage of trust in Baraks government stood at 29% two months ago before it dropped to its current level. The drop may have been caused by Baraks insistence on revising the Wye agreement and his refusal to release a larger number of security prisoners. It is likely that the level of trust in the Israeli government will increase again as Israel fulfils its commitments under the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement.
Finally, the results show that 85% of the Palestinians support the idea of holding a referendum among the Palestinians in the West Bank-Gaza and diaspora on any permanent status agreement reached between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators. Support for the referendum increases in refugee camps (89%) and among holders of BA degree (93%) and supporters of Fateh (90%) and DFLP (94%).
2. Donor Community Assistance
- The European Union and its member states came first as the most contributing to the development of the Palestinian economy in the views of 23% of the people, followed by Japan with 15%, the US with 10%, and Arab counties with 8%
- Donor community support has a positive impact on the Palestinian conditions in the views of 42% and a negative impact in the views of 15%
- Most important areas of donor support are: education (25%), water (23%) and health (18%)
- Least important areas of donor support are: women programs, police, housing, roads, and democracy and human rights
- Positive evaluation of the performance of Palestinian NGOs reaches 59%
The results show that the Palestinian street sees the European Union and its member states as contributing the most to the development of the Palestinian economy. The EU came first with 27% followed by Japan with 15%, the US with 10% and the Arab countries with 8%.
A large percentage of 42% tends to believe that the donor community support has a positive impact on the Palestinian conditions while 15% tend to believe that it has a negative impact. The belief in the positive contribution of donors support increases among residents of Jabalia (55%) and Rafah (57%), holders of BA degree (54%), farmers (54%), retired persons (52%) and supporters of Fateh (51%).
A majority of 66% believe that the most important donors support is the one invested in the area of education followed by water and health (separately receiving 25%, 23%, and 18%). Areas identified as being least important are women programs, police, housing, roads, and democracy and human rights.
These results are similar to the ones obtained on our survey of January 1999. Public perception of the role of different donors remained stable except of that of the US, which dropped from 14% to 10%. Areas of priority remain also the same except for an added importance given to water from 17% to 23% in this survey. It is noticeable that the interest of the Gazans in water remained low in comparison to that of the West Bankers (13% vs. 28%) despite the seriousness of the water problem in the Gaza Strip. On the other hand, Gazans show a special interest in the problem of sewage in comparison with the West Bank (11% vs. 2%). As in the previous survey, however, the two areas show little interest in social issues such as women or democracy programs. This result may reflect the heavy economic burden felt by the two areas.
3. Domestic Palestinian Conditions
- 39% describe their economic conditions during the past three years as better than now and 28% describe them as worse than now
- 50% are optimistic about their economic conditions during the next three years and 28% are pessimistic
- 27% say that current Palestinian conditions force them to consider permanent emigration while 72% do not consider such a move
- 35% believe that corruption exists in Palestinian NGOs while 62% believe that it exists in PA institutions. 60% of those who believe in the existence of corruption in PA institutions think that it will increase or remain the same in the future
- 80% of those who believe in the existence of corruption in PA institutions see it in ministries, 74% see it in police and security services, 48% see it in the PLC, and 40% see it in the presidents office
- A majority of 87% believe that wasta (personal and family connections) is involved to some degree in employment process
- Positive evaluation of Palestinian democracy reaches 30% compared to 69% for Israeli democracy, 58% for American democracy, 50% for French democracy, 32% for Jordanian democracy and 27% for Egyptian democracy
- 60% believe that people can not criticize the PA without fear
Personal economic conditions remain a major source of concern for the man in the street. About one third (32%) describe their economic conditions as being unchanged during the past three years, but 39% believe that their conditions were better than now, and 28% feel they are better off today. This result indicates that some 70% of the Palestinians do not notice any improvement in their economic conditions with the passing of time. Despite this negative perception, half of the Palestinians are optimistic about their future economic conditions, while only 28% are pessimistic.
Economic and other conditions seem to explain why about 27% of the Palestinians are considering permanent emigration. This percentage is higher than the one obtained last January which stood then at 21%. The desire to emigrate increases in the Gaza Strip (33%) compared to the West Bank (23%). The percentage increases especially in areas such as Bethlehem (35%), Jerusalem (30%), and Rafah and Kh(38% each). It increases also among the youngest (44%) compared to the oldest (10%), and among refugees (32%) compared to non-refugees (24%). It also increases among those with secondary education (36%), college graduates (33%), students (55%), craftsmen (39%), and supporters of Hamas (34%), PFLP (49%) and Peoples Party (39%). It is likely that the public perception of lack of improvement in many aspects of Palestinian national reconstruction provides the context for the emigration desires.
The results show that while only 35% of the Palestinians believe that corruption exists in Palestinian NGOs, a majority of 62% believes that it exists in PA institutions. Among those who believe that corruption exists in PA institutions, 80% see it in ministries, 74% in police and security services, 48% in the PLC, and 40% in the presidents office. What makes things even worse is the belief of almost every one (except 6%) that wasta (personal and family connections) is essential in one degree or another in any employment. A larger percentage of Gazans compared to West Bankers (76% vs. 58%) tend to believe that wasta is highly prevalent.
No change is noticeable in the publics positive evaluation of Palestinian democracy which remained stable at 30%, while that of Israel's stood at 69%, the US 58%, and France 50%. Public evaluation of Jordanian democracy dropped from 38% two months ago to 32% today, and Egypts from 33% to 27%.
4. Elections for the president and vice-president and political affiliation
- In elections for the presidency, Arafat receives 43% of the vote, Haidar Abdul Shafi 14%, and Ahmad Yasin 11%
- In elections for the vice-presidency Farouq Qaddumi receives the largest percentage of votes (8%), followed by Saeb Erikat (5%), Haidar Abdul Shafi (3%), Faisal al-Husseini, Ahmad Qurai and Mahmud Abbas (2% each), and Hanan Ashrawi and Nabil Shaath (1% each)
- Fateh receives the support of 38% of the people, Hamas 10%, PFLP 4%, Islamic Jihad 3%, and the non-affiliated 38%.
The results show no change in the popularity of Yassir Arafat which stands today at 43%. The same is true with regard to Haidar Abdul Shafi (14%) and Ahmad Yasin (11%). Arafats popularity remains higher in the Gaza Strip (46%) than in the West Bank (40%).
In the competition over the office of vice president, the results of this survey differ greatly from those obtained two months ago. The change has been caused by a different methodology employed in this survey. While we normally provide respondents with a list of names to select from, we have asked them this time to select a name from memory. The new methodology revealed that no single Palestinian leader is seen by the public as a natural successor to Arafat. Nonetheless, Farouq Qaddumi received the highest percentage of votes with 8%, followed by Saeb Erikat with 5%, Haidar Abdul Shafi with 3%, Ahmad Qurai, Faisal al Husseini, and Mahmud Abbas with 2% each, and Hanan Ashrawi and Nabil Shaath with 1% each. A majority of 55% could not or chose not to give the name of their preference, 15% declared that they do not intend to participate in the elections, and 7% gave their vote to persons who could not reach a 1% threshold.
It is worth mentioning that four of those candidates received a much greater percentage of support in our survey which was conducted two months ago when respondents were provided with a list of four names only. At that time, Abdul Shafi received 37%, Husseini 23%, Abbas and Qurai 14% each.
Fateh recovered some of its popularity in this survey increasing its percentage from 35% two months ago to 38% in this survey. The Islamists received 16% of peoples support divided over Hamas (10%), Islamic Jihad (3%) and Independent Islamists (3%). The PFLP dropped slightly from 5% to 4% and the percentage of the non-affiliated remained the same at 38%.
5. Home and Mobile Phones, Computers and Internet, and Satellites and TV Stations
- Increase in home phone ownership from 42% in January 1999 to 45% today and in mobile phones from 21% to 29%
- Increase in satellite dish ownership from 27% in June 1998 to 38% today
- Al Jazeera satellite TV station is watched by 51% of those who own satellite dishes, followed by Egyptian TV (11%), ART TV (9%), and MBC TV (6%)
- Home computer ownership reaches 12% and Internet subscription reaches 14% among those who own computers at home and 5% among those who have computers at work
The results show an increase in the percentage of home phone owners from 42% in early 1999 to 45% today, and a larger increase in the percentage of mobile phone ownership from 21% to 29% during the same period. It is noticeable that home phones are found more in cities (57%) than in refugee camps (40%) or towns and villages (36%). Home phones are equally found in the West Bank (45%) and the Gaza Strip (44%). But they are not equally found in homes of the rich (79%) compared to homes of the poor (35%).
Mobile phones are found more in the West Bank (37%) than in the Gaza Strip (14%) and in rural areas (34%) than in cities (25%).
Similarly, the results show an increase in the percentage of satellite dish ownership from the 27% recorded fifteen months ago to 38% today. Satellite dishes are found more in the Gaza Strip (45%) than in the West Bank (34%), in cities (48%) more than refugee camps (35%) or towns and villages (30%), and among the highest income people (74%) than the lowest income people (28%).
The results show that the most watched satellite TV station is al Jazeera (51%), followed by the Egyptian TV (11%), ART TV (9%), and MBC TV (6%). It is noticeable that more men (67%) watch al Jazeera than women (37%). The station is also popular among the holders of BA degree (76%) compared to illiterates (42%), and among those with the highest income (70%) compared to those with the lowest income (49%).
Home computer ownership remained stable at 12%, of which 14% have Internet connections. Internet connection reaches 5% among those with office computers....More