Armed Attacks, Negotiations, "Separation", Elections, Unemployement, and Palestinian-Jordanian Relations

February 2-4, 1995


This is the fifteenth 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: unemployment, elections, Palestinian-Jordanian relations, Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, and armed attacks against Israeli targets.

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.

Here are the main findings of this poll:

  • -81% of the Palestinians oppose continuation of negotiations if expansion of settlements does not stop.
  • -46% support armed attacks against Israeli targets; 33.5% oppose such attacks.
  • -Arafat's popularity reached 53.4% and Fateh's increased to 49.5% for the first time.
  • -55.3% expect that negotiations will lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
  • -64.3% see "separation" as retaliatory and vindictive collective punishment.
  • -The intensified closure raises the unemployment level in the West Bank and Gaza to 51%.

Enclosed are the results of the most recent public opinion poll that has been conducted in the West Bank (including Arab Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip (see Appendix). 

General Background 

Among the more important events in the period immediately preceding this poll was an armed attack against Israeli soldiers on January 22, 1995. The attack resulted in the death of 21 Israelis and the wounding of more than 62, most of whom were soldiers. As a result, the Israeli government decided to tighten the closure of the West Bank and Gaza and prevent all Palestinians from entering Israel. The heightened closure is believed to have heightened economic hardship among Palestinians, especially since it corresponds with the month of Ramadan. An arrest campaign was waged against supporters of Islamist groups and a number of Islamic organizations were outlawed. The military raided the premises of a Palestinian college and arrested a number of students.

At the same time, Yitzhak Rabin, the prime minister of Israel, announced that Israel should proceed in a process of full and permanent separation between the West Bank and Israel.

The issue of land confiscation was the subject of protest marches and confrontations between Palestinians and Israelis. In the meanwhile, a Palestinian-Jordanian summit was convened in Jordan as representatives of the PNA and the Jordanian government signed a number of agreements.

Yassir Arafat and Shimon Peres met in the middle of January to discuss settlements, prisoners, and other issues. However, last month witnessed a lack of activity in negotiations as many on both sides called for suspending them. 


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. During this poll, a question where respondents were asked to specify their religion was added to the demographic section. CPRS also added a question regarding marital status that had been used previously but dropped for a period. The section on unemployment that was added in the previous two polls remained in this questionnaire as well....More