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).
The period preceding the poll was full of political activity, which could be summarized as follows:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- There were numerous calls for dialogue and national unity presented by the leadership of the Palestinian authority and the opposition, especially Hamas.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cholera was resported in Gaza which affected a number of Palestinians.
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.
Household Sample Selection
SPU researchers adopted a multi-stage sample selection process. For the purpose of this poll, public-forum interviews were eliminated and replaced by household interviews. 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.
Sample Localities Selection
The Following table lists the localities that were included in the sample for this month.
District (Sample Localities (Type) District (Sample Localities (Type) Size/ %) Size/%) Nablus (109/10.1%) Nablus (C), Balata Tulkarm/Qalqilya Tulkarm (C), (RC), Awarta (V), (89/8.1%) Tulkarm (RC), Beit Beit Fureik (V), Liyed (V), Zeita Yasseed (V) (V), al-Zaweya (V) Jenin (79/7.3%) Jenin (C), Jenin Jericho (20/1.9%) Jericho (C), (RC), Siela A'qbar Jabar (RC), al-Thahir (V), Ajja al-Duwil (V) (V), Ramana (V), Zababda (V) Ramallah (103/9.6%) Ramallah (C), Ram Hebron (120/11.2%) Hebron (C), Ithna (C), Amari (RC), (T), Nalhoul (T), Birzeit (V), Qatana Tafouh (V), Sureif (V), Beit Rema (V) (V), Al-Aroub (RC) Jerusalem (75/7.0%) Old City (C), Bethlehem (69/6.4%) Bethelehem (C), al-Asawiya (V), Al-Deheishi (RC), Shufat (RC), Sur Battir (V), Beit Bahir (V) Fajjar (V) Gaza North (97/9.0%) Jabalia (RC), Gaza City Al-Rimal, Al-Shati, Nazala (V) (134/12.5%) Tufaah, Subra Gaza Middle Nuseirat (RC), Khan Gaza South Rafah (C), Rafah (91/8.5%) Yunis (RC), Khan (90/8.4%) (RC) Yunis (C), Absaan al-Kibira (V)
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. Households were selected based on a systematic sampling framework. For example, if the fieldworker estimated the number of houses in the sampling unit to be two hundred and is assigned ten interviews, the fieldworker divided the 200 by 10, obtaining 20. Therefore, the fieldworker would conduct the first interview in the 20th house, and the second in the 40th, and so on. Fieldworkers were asked to start their sample selection of housing units from a well-defined point in the area such as a post office, mosque, business, etc. They were asked to report on the direction of their sampling walks. Fieldworkers played an active role in drawing the maps for the localities in the sample and in estimating the number of houses in each block.
To select the individual within the selected household to be interviewed, fieldworkers had to flip a coin twice. The first flip was to choose gender of the respondent and the second was to choose whether the respondent is to be older or younger than forty years. When in the household, fieldworkers would conduct the interview with the person who has the characteristics that they selected in this manner.
We received 664 questionnaires from the West Bank and 412 from Gaza, for a total of 1076 interviews.
Table 2 provides the reader with data on sample distribution for the present poll where the sample was selected based on household interviews.
(Expressed as a % of the total sample)
* Employees: Schoolteacher, Government Employee, Nurse, Lower-level Company Employee, Secretary, etc.
Area of Residence West Bank "including Jerusalem"
Age Sex Education 18-22
Up to 9 years (elem./prep)
Up to 12 years (Tawjihi)
2 year College
MA + Phd.
Refugee Status Occupation Ref.
** Specialists: University Teacher, Engineer, Doctor, Lawyer, Pharmacist, Executive, etc.
***A new question for the demographic section as an initial attempt to measure information access and basis for Palestinian opinions.
Our data collectors have participated in a number of workshops where the goals of the poll were discussed. They were also lectured on household interviewing, confidence building, mapping, sampling techniques, survey methods, and scientific research. Four special training seminars for data collectors were conducted during this month, attended by a total of sixty-four fieldworkers. Training for data collection was conducted in the field where actual illustrations of the sample selection and interviewing techniques were conducted.
Data collectors worked in groups supervised by qualified researchers. CPRS researchers made random visits to interview stations and discussed the research process with data collectors. More than fifty percent of our data collectors were female, so as to ensure the representation of women in the sample. Data collectors were assigned a limited number of interviews (an average of 15 per day) to allow for careful interviewing.
Interviews took place primarily over a three day period, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and were conducted on a face-to-face basis.
Sample Size (%) by Date and Time of Interviews
Day of Interview % of Interviews Thursday Friday 34.1 40.1 25.8 Saturday
Household interviews resulted in a lower non-response rate, estimated at 8.6%. Some respondents, we believe, were reluctant to state their political views out of fear or disinterest in the present political factions .
Data were processed through the use of SPSS, a computer package that is able to detect illogical answers and other inconsistencies. The margin of error for this poll is less than 3%, and the confidence level is higher than 95%.
The Jordanian-Israeli Agreement
The majority of the Palestinians (51.7%) see the Jordanian-Isareli agreement as harming the Palestinian cause. In contrast, 10.9% believe that the agreement will be beneficial to the Palestinian cause. Additionally, 20.4% declared that the agreement will not have any effect on the Palestinian cause. We find here a difference between the West Bank and Gaza where a larger percentage of the Gaza residents (56.6%) believe that the agreement will harm the Palestinian cause, compared with 48.6% of the West Bank residents. A total of 30% of respondents in Jericho believe that the agreement will have a positive influence on the Palestinian cause, compared with 55% of them who think that it will be harmful. A larger percentage of residents of the north than in the center or south of the West Bank believe that the agreement will benefit the Palestinian cause.
Attitude towards the Jordanian-Israeli Treaty by Area of Residence
Harmful % Beneficial % No effect % Don't Know % Nablus 45.0 15.6 16.5 22.9 Tulkarm 49.4 13.5 21.3 15.8 Jenin 46.8 16.5 17.7 19.0 Jericho 55.0 30.0 15.0 --- Ramallah 44.7 09.7 26.2 19.4 Hebron 55.0 07.5 20.0 17.5 Bethlehem 44.9 05.8 33.3 15.9 Jerusalem 52.0 12.0 16.0 20.0 Gaza North 69.1 03.1 21.6 06.2 Gaza City 53.7 11.9 15.7 18.7 Gaza Middle 52.7 14.3 26.4 06.6 Gaza South 51.1 05.6 15.6 27.7
A total of 48.9% of the Palestinians declared that the agreement will increase the Jordanian influence in the West Bank. This view may be the chief cause for their belief that the Jordanian-Israeli agreement will harm the Palestinian cause. There is no difference between the West Bank and Gaza Strip in regard to this topic.
The poll results show that supporters of the opposition factions in addition to supporters of the Palestinian People's Party (PPP) are more likely to believe that the agreement between Jordan and Israel will harm the Palestinian cause, followed by factions supportive of the peace process where we find that 49.3% of the supporters of Fateh believe so. With regard to the agreement's effect on Jordanian influence in the West Bank, supporters of the opposition factions believe more than supporters of the factions supportive of the peace process that the agreement will lead to an increase in Jordanian influence in the area. This confirms the existing relation between political affiliation and the position concerning all agreements between Arab countries and Israel as the supporters of the Palestinian opposition view these agreements negatively.
There is a relationship between age and view of the influence of the treaty on the Palestinian cause where the younger respondents (18-35) are more likely than the older resopndents (36 and older) to believe that the Jordanian-Israeli treaty will harm the Palestinian cause, where 53.6% of the 18-35 age group expressed this belief, compared with 42% of those over 36 years old.
Palestinians were asked about three issues related to Israeli-Palestinian relations: the degree of Israel's seriousness in implementing the agreement, armed operations against Israeli targets, and the establishment of dialogue between Hamas and Israel.
A.) Seriousness of Israel
The poll results show that most Palestinians (62.3%) think that Israel is not serious in implementing its agreements signed with the Palestinians, compared with 18% who feel that Israel is serious. As for the correlation between political affiliation and this topic, we find that trust in the seriousness of Israel is very slight among supporters of the opposition, while a larger percentage of Fateh and Feda supporters consider Israel's position to be serious.
Despite the view of Israel's position being predominantly negative in all the areas, more than 20% of the residents of Nablus, Jenin, Bethlehem, and Gaza Middle consider Israel to be serious in seeking peace. Lack of trust in Israel's position increases among those with a B.A. degree, where 85.7% of them declared that Israel is not serious, compared with 65.1% among those with primary education.
B.) Armed Operations
With regard to the attitude towards armed operations against Israeli targets outside the autonomous areas (the West Bank and Israel), 34.4% of Palestinians expressed their opposition to these operations. This is compared with 33.3% who expressed support. A total of 5.4% declared their support for these operations in the West Bank only, and 18.8% declared their support for these operations inside Israel only.
Support for the continuation of armed attacks (outside the autonomous areas) is larger in the Gaza Strip than in the West Bank where 41.4% of Gazans declared their support for these operations, compared with 28.2% of the West Bank respondents (13.4% less). This difference may be due to the fact that the West Bank residents feel that these attacks could endanger their opportunity to end Israeli occupation and come under Palestinian authority. Also, the tendency towards support for the Islamic position calling for a Palestinian state on all of the land of Palestine is greater in the Gaza Strip than in the West Bank, which could account for the larger support for these operations in Gaza.
There was a clear correlation between support for armed operations and the nature of political affiliation as Palestinians opposing the agreements with Israel tend to support armed operations more than those supporting the agreements.
Attitude Towards Armed Operations by Political Affiliation
Yes % No % West Bank Israel Only Don't Know % Only % % PFLP 59.7 09.7 01.6 27.4 01.6 PPP 14.3 71.4 --- 14.3 --- Hamas 51.6 17.9 04.3 19.6 06.6 Feda --- 75.0 08.3 16.7 --- Islamic 56.4 17.9 07.7 10.3 07.7 Jihad Fateh 23.7 43.0 05.1 20.4 07.8 DFLP 58.3 08.3 16.7 16.7 --- Islamic 39.4 27.3 03.0 24.2 06.1 Inds. Nationalist 37.3 31.3 07.5 17.9 06.0 Inds. Others 43.2 31.8 04.5 09.1 11.4 No One 19.6 42.0 01.4 16.1 20.9
We find support for these operations to a greater extent among the younger age groups and those with 2-year degrees and to a lesser extent among those who have no more than primary education and among those with an M.A. or PhD. We notice also that the opposition to armed operations increases among retired, specialists, laborers, farmers, and housewives, whereas students and employees are more likely to support these operations.
Women are more likely to oppose these armed operations than men where 38.5% of women declared their oppostion compared to 30% of men. A total of 39% of men who support the operations against Israeli targets, compared with 27.4% of women. These findings are consistent with a large number of studies that were conducted in a number of countries including Israel. These studies indicated that women tend to support nonviolent means more than men in resolving conflicts.
C.) Dialogue Between Hamas and Israel
Despite the support for armed operations against Israeli targets, most Palestinians (59.1%) support the establishment of dialogue between Hamas and Israel. This support increases with an increase in age, where we find that 64.4% of those 36 and older support dialogue between Israel and Hamas, compared with 55.7% of those in the 18-35 age group. There is an inverse relationship between support for this dialogue and educational attainment (excluding those with 2-year degrees) where we find that 40% of those with an M.A. or PhD support this dialogue, compared with 60% of those with only primary education.
Attitude towards Dialogue between Hamas and Israel by Education
Yes % No % No Opinion % 9 years or less 59.9 25.7 14.4 Tawjihi 58.6 32.7 08.6 2 year college 62.9 30.6 06.5 B.A. 53.0 38.6 08.4 M.A. or PhD 40.0 40.0 20.0
Support for this dialogue declines among students, farmers, and specialists and increases among craftsmen and the unemployed.
It is interesting to find that 44.6% of Hamas supporters support the notion of establishing dialogue with Israel, compared with 72.5% among Fateh supporters.
Attitude Towards Dialogue between Hamas and Israel by Political Affiliation
Yes % No % No Opinion % PFLP 35.5 53.2 11.3 PPP 64.3 21.4 14.3 Hamas 44.6 50.0 05.4 Feda 81.8 18.2 --- Islamic Jihad 35.9 61.5 02.6 Fateh 72.5 19.5 08.0 DFLP 41.7 50.0 08.3 Islamic Inds. 48.5 42.4 09.1 Nationalist Inds. 70.1 19.4 10.5 Others 54.5 29.5 16.0 No One 52.8 21.5 25.8
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