Unemployment, Jordanian-Israeli Treaty, Armed Operations, Elections, and Other Issues

November 17-19, 1994


This is the thirteenth 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, the Jordanian-Israeli treaty, armed operations, Palestinian-Israeli relations, elections of the PNA president, and elections of PISGA.

SRU 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.

The majority (74.2%) of the interviews for this poll were conducted Thursday and Friday (November 17-18) and before the violent confrontations in Gaza after Friday prayers between the Palestinian police and demonstrators from Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The remainder of the interviews (25.8%) were conducted after the confrontations, on Saturday, November 19. These confrontations led to the killing of fifteen Palestinians and the wounding of over two hundred more. It was difficult for us to measure possible changes in attitudes as a result of the confrontations in Gaza because the questionnaire was not designed to measure these changes. However, a comparison of the two sets of interviews (conducted before and after the Friday confrontations) revealed that there was no appreciable difference between them.

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

The period preceding the poll was full of political activity, which could be summarized as follows:

  1. Izzidin al-Qassam, the military wing of Hamas, declared its responsibility for a number of armed operations against Israeli targets, including the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Naschon Wachsman where the kidnappers demanded the release of a number of Hamas prisoners and other Palestinians in Israeli jails. One of Hamas' supporters carried out a suicide bombing of an Israeli bus in Tel Aviv, killing 22 Israelis and wounding many more. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for an armed operation in Gaza that led to the death of three Israeli army officers and the wounding of another six soldiers and a few Palestinians. A Palestinian journalist and Islamic Jihad leader was assasinated by a car bomb. Israelis were suspected of carrying out the attack. Ten thousand Palestinians attended his funeral in Gaza.
  2. The Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty was signed, which increased tensions between the Palestinian and Jordanian sides because of fears concerning the subject of sovereignty over the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, where the treaty gives Jordan the right of supervision over these sites. King Hussein and His Highness Hassan assured the Palestinians that the Muslim holy sites would come under their sovereignty as soon as they restored their sovereignty over their land.
  3. November 15th marked the sixth anniversary of the Declaration of Palestinian Independence. A number of celebrations were taking place, especially in Gaza. At the same time, the PLO executive committee was supposed to meet in Gaza. The meeting was attended by only eight members out of the eighteen.
  4. Negotiations continued between the Palestinians and the Israelis concerning the transfer of power and responsibilities and also concerning elections. At the same time Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin announced that Israel demands amending the Palestinian National Charter as a prerequisite to holding elections. Mr. Saeb Erakat and other Palestinian leaders described the latest position of Rabin as stalling, aimed at obstructing elections and transfer of authority to the Palestinians. Also during this period the Palestinians assumed their responsibilities at the border crossings.
  5. During this period, an economics conference was held for the Middle East and North Africa with the participation of a number of states and organizations and companies. Palestinian and Israeli delegations participated in the conference. The conference coincided with a declaration presented by Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin lifting the closure of the West Bank and Gaza to allow some Palestinians workers to return to jobs in Israel, while still prohibiting the majority of the Palestinian workers from working in Israel.
  6. The delay in delivering the funding on the part of the donor countries to the Palestinian Authority caused concern to the Palestinian leadership and other leaders in Arab countries. For example, the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, said that the West Bank and Gaza Strip will become another Afghanistan if funding did not reach the autonomous areas in time.
  7. There were numerous calls for dialogue and national unity presented by the leadership of the Palestinian authority and the opposition, especially Hamas.
  8. During this period, the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron was re-opened. The mosque had been closed since the massacre which took place February 25, 1994. The mosque was divided between the Muslims and the Jews, a procedure which Palestinians and other Arabs opposed.
  9. This period witnessed the beginning of internal Fateh elections, where elections were actually held to choose the leadership in the Ramallah area. However, after these elections, the elections for the other areas were postponed indefinitely.
  10. Cholera was resported in Gaza which affected a number of Palestinians.... More