Elections, Negotiations, Strike, Refugee Camps, Criticism of the PNA

May 18-20, 1995

This is the seventeenth public opinion poll conducted by the Survey Research Unit (SRU) at the Center for Palestine Research and Studies. The following topics are covered in this poll: elections, negotiations, strike, refugee camps, and criticism of the PNA. CPRS has been conducting regular public opinion polls to document an important phase in the history of the Palestinian people and to record the reactions of the Palestinian community with regard to current political events. CPRS does not adopt political positions and does not tolerate attempts to influence the conclusions reached or published for political motives. CPRS is committed to providing a scholarly contribution to analysis and objective study and to publishing the results of all our studies and research. Poll results provide a vital resource for the community and for researchers needing statistical information and analysis. The polls give members of the community opportunity to voice their opinion and to seek to influence decision makers on issues of concern to them. In a broader sense, CPRS strives to promote the status of scientific research in Palestine. SRU disseminates the results of the polls through a number of means, including its community outreach program where the results are shared and discussed with a large number of Palestinians. This poll focused on the Tulkarm refugee camp in an effort to understand the views of the residents concerning the issues and to test the effects of fieldworker appearance on respondent answers. (See Focus on Tulkarm Refugee Camp).

Here are the main findings of this poll:

  • -A total of 50% believe that it is possible to criticize the PNA without fear.
  • -Palestinian radio is the first choice of West Bank residents, and competes with Israeli radio for first choice in Gaza. Jordanian radio and Monte Carlo radio are competing for third choice.
  • -A total of 65% support continuing the negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.
  • -Most support abolishing the strike on the ninth of each month or transforming it to a yearly occasion, and only 23% support keeping it as it is.
  • -Arafat obtained 55% of the vote and support for Fateh is at 49%.
  • -A total of 58% will participate in the elections, if the opposition calls for a boycott.
  • -A total of 71% declared themselves ready to elect a qualified woman.
  • -Only 28% believe that the general political elections will be fair and 23% believe that they will be somewhat fair.
  • -A total of 21.6% want to keep the refugee camps as they are until a final agreement is reached concerning them, while 47.3% support keeping them with improvements in living conditions. Only 25% support transferring residents to new housing projects.

Enclosed are the results of the current public opinion poll that has been conducted in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (see Appendix) and analysis of the results.  


General Background

Among the events preceding this poll was the decision of the Israeli Housing Ministry to confiscate 520 dunams of Palestinian land in Arab Jerusalem to build housing projects, which was the largest land confiscation in East Jerusalem in 15 years. Palestinians, Arab governments, and other governments protested the action on the grounds that it violated international law and the Declaration of Principles since Jerusalem is a final status issue. Palestinians also protested the American stand in the UN concerning the issue. Meanwhile, Palestinian and Israeli talks continued concerning the extension of Palestinian control to the rest of the West Bank. The one-year anniversary of the establishment of the Palestinian Authority was observed during this period. In Sheikh Radwan in the Gaza Strip on April 3, an explosion occurred, killing six people and leading to controversy over the parties responsible. As a result of the explosion, Hamas and Islamic Jihad each carried out an attack on Israeli targets in the Gaza Strip on April 9 and the Palestinian police arrested a number of the supporters of the two factions. The PNA requested that all illegal arms be relinquished by May 12. Military courts were established, resulting in controversy. In Hebron on April 16, three members of Hamas were killed by Israeli military. At the same time, there was talk about the possibility of reconciliation between PNA and Hamas and Islamic Jihad. In this period, a new Palestinian political group was established headed by Hayder Abdel Shafi.


The questionnaire was designed through consultations with experts. A pre-test involving fifty questionnaires was conducted in the Nablus area prior to the poll. The questionnaire instrument includes a large number of demographic variables as indicated in the section on sample distribution. A total of 29 variables and questions are included in this questionnaire. The section on unemployment that was added recently remained in this questionnaire.

Household Sample Selection

SRU researchers adopted a multi-stage sample selection process. The process of sample selection began with the creation of lists of all locations in the West Bank and Gaza according to district, population size and distribution, and type of locality (city, town, village, and refugee camp). A simple random sample of locations to be surveyed was selected from these lists, as shown in Table 1. Fieldworkers and researchers created maps for these localities. These maps indicated the boundaries, main streets, and clusters of residential neighborhoods in these localities which were further divided into a number of sampling units (blocks) with each unit comprising an average of two hundred housing units. The sample units (blocks) to be surveyed were selected randomly...More