Elections and Palestinian-Jordanian Relations

 August, 11-13, 1994


This is the eleventh public opinion poll conducted by the Survey Research Unit (SRU) at the Center for Palestine Research and Studies. This poll focuses on freedom of the press, Palestinian-Jordanian relations, Jerusalem, and elections. SRU has been conducting monthly 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. The poll results are published independently and with unit analysis in both Arabic and English. They 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, SRU strives to promote the status of scientific research in Palestine. Consistent with its commitment to the development of the status of survey research in the West Bank and Gaza, SPU has utilized new methods to select the sample (See Methodology section). SPU will be conducting polls every six weeks.

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 A).

General Background

This poll was conducted over a three day period: August 11, 12, and 13, 1994. A number of political events preceded the poll, summarized below:

  1. August is the fourth month following the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority in the Gaza Strip and Jericho, a period of preparation for the national authority and its initial implementation. There is still a lack of financing for this administration where the donor countries are withholding promised funds from the authority in Jericho and Gaza. At the same time, elections for the PISGA council that were supposed to take place last month were postponed again until December 1994. Also, at the same time, municipal councils were appointed in Nablus, where elections had last taken place in 1976, and Gaza, which had not had municipal elections since 1945. Also, the national authority banned two newspapers, Al-Nahar and Akhbar al-Balad from entering the autonomous areas, leading to discussion in Palestinian society where supporters of the ban believe that these papers are loyal to a foreign government and opponents of this ban fear that the authority is interfering in freedom of the press.
  2. The Jordanian-Israeli agreement signed in Washington on July 25th led to tension in Jordanian-Palestinian relations. The discussion centered around the topic of sovereignty over Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem since the Jordanian-Israeli agreement gave top priority to the historic role of Jordan in these places.
  3. The Israeli-Palestinian negotiations continued without much progress in relation to transfer of authority in the rest of the West Bank and a number of other topics including the control of the crossing points and safe passage from Jericho to Gaza. Also, the topic of releasing Palestinian political prisoners from Israeli jails is of great concern to Palestinians.
  4. With regard to the economic situation, there is general and specific awareness in the Gaza Strip that it is bad and there is need for a great effort to improve it, especially since the Israeli authorities have prohibited most of the workers from returning to work by not granting permits and making the procedure to get them more difficult. This led to a Palestinian-Israeli confrontation at the Eretz checkpoint on July 17 which resulted in two Palestinian deaths, 100 wounded Palestinians, 21 wounded Israeli soldiers, and the burning of over 100 buses and a gas station.



The questionnaire was designed through consultations with experts. The format was changed during this poll in order to expedite the coding and data entry process. Researchers were asked to mark respondents' answers in boxes next to the questions, making it possible to enter the coded data directly from the questionnaire and eliminating the need for code sheets. Besides saving time, this process increased accuracy since it eliminated a step with potential for clerical error. While a separate coding step was no longer necessary, coders did check each questionnaire to ensure that they were completed properly prior to the data entry. A pre-test involving fifty questionnaires was conducted in the Jenin and Nablus areas prior to the poll.

A number of new variables were added to the original questionnaire. These variables included day and date of interview, time and place of interview (i.e., public forum or household), and length of interview. This is in addition to a question regarding following the news and information on all localities included in the survey.... More