The Peace Process, Donor Community Support, Domestic Affairs, Elections for the President and Vice-President, Internet, and Satellite Dishes
28-30 January 1999
These are the results of opinion poll #39, conducted by the Center for Palestine Research & Studies, between 28 - 30 January 1999. The poll deals with the peace process, donor community support, domestic affairs, elections for the President and vice-President, internet, and satellite dishes. The total sample size of this poll is 1318 from Palestinians 18 years and older, of which 823 in the West Bank and 495 in the Gaza Strip. The margin of error is + 3% and the non-response rate is 3%.
1. Peace Process
- Support for the peace process rises to 73%
- Support for violence against Israelis declines to 41%
- Support for a unilateral declaration of independence declines to 52%
The results show that support for the peace process has risen to 73% after it had dropped to 66% about one month ago in the aftermath of the Israeli suspension of the Wye River agreement. This change in public attitude is further reinforced by the sharp drop in the level of support for armed attacks against Israeli targets from 53% one month ago to 41% today. Opposition to armed attacks is higher in the Gaza Strip (57%) than in the West Bank (50%). Opposition also increases among the less educated, laborers, merchants, professionals, specialists, the unemployed and supporters of Fateh.
Along the same context, support for a Palestinian unilateral declaration of independence on May 4, 1999, has dropped from 57% one month ago to 52% today. Support for the declaration increases in the Gaza Strip (55%), compared to the West Bank (50%), and among students and the young.
The shift in public attitude regarding these three issues in the last month may be due to Israels party and election developments with the rise of the Center Party and the increasing divisions within the right wing parties. These developments may have strengthened the desire to wait for the results of the Israeli elections without the intrusion of violence that might serve the interests of the right wing parties. Furthermore, contradictory Palestinian statements regarding statehood on May 4th, may have contributed to the relative decline in support for the unilateral declaration.
2. Donor Community Support:
- Donor countries that contribute most to Palestinian economic development are the European Union and its members (25%), Japan (16%), US (14%), and Arab countries (8%)
- About 46% believe that donors support has a positive impact on Palestinian economic development while 16% believe that it has a negative impact
- Most important areas of donors support are: education (27%) followed by health (26%) and water (17%)
- Least important areas of donors support are: women programs (21%) followed by housing (13%), roads (11%), and democracy and human rights (11%)
The results show that the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza believe that the European Union and its members contribute most to the development of the Palestinian economy as they have been selected by 25% of the sample. About 16% however, believe that Japan is the one that contributes most, while 14% say that it is the US and 8% say that it is the Arab countries. It is noticeable that a larger percentage in the Gaza Strip selected the EU, while an identical percentage in the West Bank and Gaza selected the US. Within the EU, France has been especially singled out, especially in the Gaza Strip. The EU is singled out more by refugees, refugee camp residents, and the most educated.
The majority of respondents (70%) believe that the donors' support is most important in the three areas of education, health and water. On the other hand, donors programs seen as least important were those in the areas of women, housing, security and police, roads, institution building, democracy and human rights, agriculture, and sewage treatment. In the Gaza Strip, interest was highest in the area of health (33%) followed by education (23%), water (10%), sewage treatment (9%), and democracy and human rights (8%). Priorities in the West Bank were similar to those in the Gaza Strip, but education came first (29%) followed by health (21%), water (21%), democracy (6%), and sewage treatment (3%).
Positive evaluation of the impact of the donors support on Palestinian economic development reached 46%, while negative evaluation reached 15%. One third of respondents considered the impact to be somewhere in the middle between positive and negative. Positive evaluation was highest in the Jabalia area (58%) and lowest in the Jerusalem and Bethlehem areas (39% and 38% respectively). It decreases also among residents of the refugee camps and the illiterates. It increases slightly among supporters of Fateh (52%) compared to supporters of the PFLP and Hamas (42% and 45% respectively).
Most of these results were predictable. They highlight the particularism of some of the areas such as the Gazas relative interest in health more than education and the relatively high interest of Khanyounis in the sewage treatment area which enjoyed the same importance as education. Similarly, Deir al Balah and Rafah have shown high interest in the area of sewage treatment. What was not predictable however, was the lack of interest in water programs in the Gaza Strip despite the very well known concern about water quality and shortage. Similarly, lack of West Bank interest in donors support for agriculture is surprising. Little interest in both regions have been shown with regard to donors assistance in roads despite the recognition of most experts of the importance of this vital need. Furthermore, the results show little street interest in democracy and human rights issues and demonstrate the relative lack of street interest in women programs and security and police issues. Overall, they reveal the streets hierarchy of priorities with immediate interest focusing on vital living conditions and the postponement of socio-political concerns for future treatment. On the other hand, it may reveal Palestinian discomfort with donors and Western involvement in socio-political questions which they may consider to be outside the realm of foreign intrusion.
3. Domestic Conditions
- 23% believe that their economic conditions today are better than they were during the past three years; but 39% say the opposite and 38% say that they have not changed
- A majority of 56% are optimistic about their economic conditions in the next three years, but 26% are pessimistic
- A majority of 54% believe that corruption exist in the PNA and 58% believe that it will increase or remain the same in the future
- Corruption is seen in ministries (79%), police and security services (70%), PLC (47%), and the office of the presidency (37%)
- Only 6% believe that appointments to jobs are possible without wasta (connections) while 59% believe that it is done through wasta to a large extent
- Positive evaluation of Palestinian democracy reaches 36% compared to 64% for Israeli democracy
- 58% believe that people can not criticize the PNA without fear
- 21% say that the situation in the Palestinian areas forces them to seek permanent emigration
- 48% evaluate positively the performance of Palestinian local councils
- 42% support holding local elections immediately while 47% support postponement until after further Israeli redeployment from new Palestinian areas
The results show that peoples perception of their economic situation has shifted slightly to the worse compared to where it was six months ago. While the percentage of those who believe that their economic conditions have remained the same, as it was during the past three years, has not changed, the percentage of those who believe that it was worse went down to 23% compared to 31% in August 1998. In other words, the percentage of those who believe that their economic conditions are better today has dropped compared to where it was few months ago. Those who believe that conditions were better reached 39% in this survey, while those who said that it remained the same reached 3%.
In contrast, expectregarding the future are more optimistic than they were last August. Today, 56% say that they are optimistic about their economic conditions in the next three years compared to 51% six months ago. The level of optimism is relatively high in Ramallah (63%) and low in Jerusalem (50%) and Hebron (47%) as would be expected. Optimism is higher also among the less educated, housewives, farmers and those with the least income. It is lower among the most educated, merchants, specialists, and those with the highest income.
In the political area, streets positive evaluation of Palestinian democracy increased from 31% to 36% in less than a month. In contrast, the percentage of those who believe that people can not criticize the PNA without fear has increased from 53% to 58% during the same period.
Similarly, the percentage of those who believe that corruption exists in PNA institutions has dropped significantly in one month from 68% to 54%. It is noticeable however, that most of those who changed their views shifted to the categories of do not know or no opinion.
Despite this change, a large percentage of those who believe in the existence of corruption (79%) still believes that it exists in ministries, while 70% believe that it exists in the security services, 47% believe it exists in the PLC, and 37% believe it exists in the office of the presidency.
The percentage of those who believe that appointment to jobs can not be made without wasta (connections) has increased slightly from 56% six months ago to 59% in this survey.
Under these political and economic conditions, 21% of respondents expressed the desire to emigrate permanently. This percentage is lower than that obtained in August 1998 when it was 26%.
Finally, the results show a limited drop in the positive evaluation of the performance of local councils compared to the situation in April 1997. Today, it reaches 48% compared to 52% in the April 1997 survey. Positive evaluation of performance is higher in the areas of Nablus (64%) and Ramallah (56%) and lower in Jerusalem (23%), Tulkarm (42%), Deir al Balah (43%) and Rafah (45%).
Forty two percent supported the holding of local elections immediately while 47% supported its postponement until after further Israeli redeployment takes place from additional areas in the West Bank. This indicates a drop in support for immediate elections compared to the situation in June 1998 when 48% supported holding the elections immediately while 45% supported postponement. Support for immediate elections is stronger in Bethlehem area (56%) and weaker in the Nablus area (35%) and Gaza City (39%).
Support for immediate elections drops among illiterates (31%) and rises among the holders of BA degrees (56%). Supporters of opposition factions are divided over the issue with higher support for elections among supporters of the PFLP (53%) and relatively lower support among supporters of Hamas (39%). Supporters of Fateh come in the middle with 43% support.
4. Elections for the President and Vice President and Political Affiliation
- Yassir Arafat receives 47% of the vote, Ahmad Yasin 10%, and Haidar Abdul Shafi 9%
- In elections for the vice president: Haidar Abdul Shafi 15%, Saeb Erikat 8%, Hanan Ashrawi and Faisal Hussieni 7% each, Farouq Qaddoumi and Ahmad Qurai 6% each, Mahmud Abbas 4%, and Nabil Shaath 3%
- In elections for the vice president between three candidates: Haidar Abdul Shafi 40%, Saeb Erikat 26%, and Faisal Hussieni 22%
- Fateh receives 37% of the vote, Hamas 12%, PFLP and Islamic Jihad 3% each, and the non-affiliated 38%
In a race for the presidency, Yassir Arafats popularity remained the same at 47% level. Ahmad Yassin received 10% of the vote and Haidar Abdul Shafi received 9%. Arafats popularity reached 51% in the Gaza Strip and 45% in the West Bank.
In the race for the vice presidency, Abdul Shafi received the largest percentage of votes among eight candidates with 15%, followed by Saeb Erikat with 8%, Hanan Ashrawi and Faisal Hussieni with 7% each, Ahmad Qurai and Farouq Qaddoumi with 6% each, Mahmoud Abbas with 4%, and Nabil Shaath with 3%. The popularity of four of the candidates is higher in the Gaza Strip than in the West Bank with Abdul Shafi receiving 21% in the Gaza Strip and 11% in the West Bank, Erikat receiving 10% in Gaza compared to 7% in the West Bank, Abbas receiving 8% in Gaza and 3% in the West Bank, and Shaath receiving 5% in the Gaza Strip and 1% in the West Bank. The other four received more support in the West Bank with Hussieni receiving 8% (4% in Gaza), Ashrawi receiving 7% (6% in Gaza), Qurai receiving 7% (4% in Gaza) and Qaddoumi receiving 6% (4% in Gaza).
In a contest for the vice presidency between three candidates only, Abdul Shafi received the largest percentage of votes (40%) followed by Erikat (26%) and Hussieni (22%). Abdul Shafi has stronger support in Gaza (46%) than in the West Bank (35%). Hussieni is stonger in the West Bank (27%) than in Gaza (15%). But Erikat has equal support in Gaza and the West Bank (26%). Compared to the situation one month ago, Abdul Shafi and Erikat increased their support slightly while Hussienis popularity went down slightly.
Support for Fateh went down from 40% one month ago to 37% in this survey. Hamas received 12% support and the PFLP 3%. The Islamists received an overall support of 19% while the nonaffiliated remained as before at 38%.
5. Telephones, Computers, Internet, and Satellite Dishes at Homes
- 42% have phones at homes
- 21% have mobile phones
- 11% have computers at home
- 5% have Internet subscription at home
- 6% have Internet subscription at work
- 30% have satellite dishes at home
The results indicate an increase in the percentage of those who have Internet subscription at work from 2% last June to 6% today. Similarly, the percentage of those who have satellite dishes at home increased from 27% to 30% during the same period. By contrast, a drop has taken place in the percentage of those who have Internet subscription at home from 7% to 5% and in the percentage of those who have computers at home from 12% to 11%.
Phones are available in 42% of the homes and 21% have mobile phones. The percentage of those who have these facilities is generally higher in the West Bank. For example, mobile phones are available to 29% of West Bankers and to 9% of Gazans. More regular phones are available in the West Bank (44%) than in Gaza (38%). But more Internet access is available in Gazan homes (6%) than in homes in the West Bank (5%). Similarly, more satellite dishes are found in Gazan homes (31%) than in homes in the West Bank (29%)....More