CPRS Polls - Survey Research Unit
Public Opinion Poll #13
Unemployment, Jordanian-Israeli Treaty, Armed Operations, Elections, and Other Issues November 17-19, 1994
Proposed Solution to the Palestinian Issue

The poll results show that 49.8% of the Palestinians accept the solution that the PLO has proposed to the Palestinian issue, which is the establishment of two states -- one for Palestinians and one for Israelis. We find that acceptance of this solution is spread throughout the West Bank and Gaza, with slightly more support in the West Bank (50.5%, compared with 48.7% in Gaza). As for the Islamic solution, which the Islamic groups propose and which calls for the liberation of all the land of Palestine, it has the support of 38.7% of Palestinians. Support for this solution came to a larger extent from Gaza, where 43.1% of the respondents choose this option, than from the West Bank where 35.9% of the respondents selected such an option, a difference of 7.8%.

We find also that support for the Jordanian solution, re-annexing the West Bank through negotiation with Israel, is almost exclusive to the West Bank, where 8% of the Palestinians declared their support for such an option.

Support for the PLO position comes mainly from supporters of the peace process with Israel (Fateh, Feda, PPP) in addition to supporters of nationalist independents and DFLP. Support for the Islamic solution comes mainly from supporters of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and joining them in their calls to liberate all the Palestinian land are most of the supporters of PFLP and Islamic independents.

Table 8

Attitude Towards Proposed Solutions by Political Affiliation

                 PLO              Islamic          Jordanian        Other            
Fateh                 70.1        19.6             05.2             05.1             
Feda                  100.0       ---              ---              ---              
PPP                   78.6        21.4             ---              ---              
Nationalist           68.7        22.4             03.0             05.9             
Inds                                                                                 
Hamas                 14.8        79.8             03.3             02.1             
Islamic Jihad         12.8        82.1             05.1             ---              
PFLP                  37.1        50.0             03.2             09.7             
DFLP                  58.3        41.7             ---              ---              
Islamic Inds          36.4        54.5             03.0             06.1             
Others                50.0        36.4             02.3             11.3             
No one                33.6        40.0             11.4             15.0             

Support for the Jordanian solution is spread throughout the political factions, and increases slightly among those respondents who declared that they would vote for none of the factions listed in the questionnaire, where it reached 11.4%.

The poll results show that there is a relationship between view of the solutions and area of residence, where support for the PLO's proposed solution surpasses support for the other solutions in the north of the West Bank in particular. In Hebron and Gaza Middle, support for the Islamic solution is higher than support for the PLO solution. The two solutions have about the same support rates in Jerusalem and in Gaza City. Support for the Jordanian solution is particularly evident in the Nablus area, where it reaches 17.9%.

Table 9

Attitude Towards Proposed Solutions by Area of Residence

                 PLO %            Islamic %        Jordanian %      Other %          
Nablus                48.1        23.6             17.9             10.4             
Tulkarm               54.0        36.8             04.6             04.6             
Jenin                 56.0        30.7             08.0             05.3             
Jericho               65.0        30.0             05.0             ---              
Ramallah              52.9        24.5             12.7             09.9             
Jerusalem             40.0        53.3             05.0             01.7             
Hebron                58.0        37.7             02.9             01.4             
Bethlehem             46.7        45.3             01.3             06.7             
Gaza North            59.4        32.3             ---              08.3             
Gaza City             46.4        41.0             01.5             11.2             
Gaza Middle           38.5        61.5             ---              ---              
Gaza South            51.1        38.9             ---              10.0             

Support for the PLO solution is more popular among men (54.8%) than among women (45%). We find that support for the Islamic solution is more popular among the young (18-35 years) where it reaches 45% than among the older groups, where it is at 33.4%.

Table 10

Attitude Towards Proposed Solution by Age

                 PLO %            Islamic %        Jordanian %      Other %          
18-30 years           48.1        43.1             04.0             04.8             
31+ years             51.3        34.9             06.0             07.7             

Support for the Islamic solution is at 47.4% among students, compared with 44.7% student support for the PLO solution. Support for the Islamic solution is present at a noteworthy extent among the merchants and retired. Support for the Islamic solution as suggested by the poll questions is not only from supporters of the Islamic groups but also from supporters of the nationalist secular groups such as PFLP and DFLP.

Elections of the Head of the National Authority

The current poll includes an investigation into Palestinian opinion regarding a group of possible nominees for election as head of the Palestinian authority: George Habash, Yassir Arafat, Ahmed Yassin, and Hayder Abdel Shafi. The results show that in the event of separate elections for the head of the Palestinian authority, Yassir Arafat would win with a percentage of 44.2% of the votes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Ahmed Yassin would attain 19.7% of the votes, followed by Hayder Abdel Shafi at 8.9% and George Habash at 6.8%. A total of 20.4% represents undecided individuals or supporters of other Palestinian leaders.

The results show that support for Yassir Arafat, the head of Fateh, comes primarily from the supporters of that group. He also enjoys some support among the supporters of Feda and nationalist independents. Ahmed Yassin's support comes primarily from the supporters of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Islamic independents. Hayder Abdel Shafi attracts support from PPP, nationalist independents, and Islamic independents.

Table 11

Election for Head of Palestinian Authority by Political Affiliation

              Habash        Arafat        Yassin        Abdel Shafi   Other         
Fateh             01.8      87.3          02.0          03.4          05.5          
Feda              08.3      33.3          ---           08.3          50.1          
PPP               ---       07.7          07.7          53.8          30.8          
Hamas             ---       05.5          78.7          04.9          10.9          
Islamic           ---       05.3          57.9          07.9          28.9          
Jihad                                                                               
Islamic           ---       18.2          27.3          15.2          39.3          
Inds.                                                                               
PFLP              90.3      03.2          ---           03.2          03.3          
DFLP              ---       16.7          08.3          08.3          66.7          
National          01.6      24.2          01.6          50.0          22.6          
Inds                                                                                
Other             02.3      20.9          04.7          11.6          60.5          
No one            02.8      18.4          12.1          08.5          58.2          

There is a difference between the West Bank and Gaza, where Yassir Arafat enjoys greater popularity in the Gaza Strip (55.3%) than in the West Bank (37.2%), a difference of 18%. These results are compared with those of Ahmed Yassin, who enjoys greater popularity in the West Bank (23%) than in Gaza (14.6%). The highest percentage for Ahmed Yassin is in Hebron, where he attained 40% of the vote, compared with 28% for Yassir Arafat.

Table 12

Election of Head of Palestinian Authority by Area of Residence

              Habash        Arafat        Yassin        Abdel Shafi   Other         
Nablus            08.7      46.2          12.5          08.7          23.9          
Tulkarm           03.5      43.5          29.4          05.9          17.7          
Jenin             08.5      40.8          21.1          15.5          14.1          
Jericho           10.0      55.0          20.0          05.0          10.0          
Ramallah          05.8      30.1          13.6          12.6          37.9          
Hebron            04.2      28.0          39.8          11.0          17.0          
Bethlehem         10.4      46.3          20.9          09.0          13.4          
Jerusalem         08.3      25.0          20.8          08.3          37.6          
Gaza North        09.3      46.4          15.5          10.3          18.5          
Gaza City         04.5      56.7          15.7          06.0          17.1          
Gaza Middle       06.7      59.6          15.7          05.6          12.4          
Gaza South        06.7      58.4          11.2          06.7          17.0          

Support for Yassir Arafat is approximately the same among men and women, while we find that support for Ahmed Yassin is higher among women (23.2%) than among men (16%). Support for Hayder Abdel Shafi came more from men (11.1%) than women (6.6%), posssibly due to a large number of women, particularly uneducated women, not knowing Mr. Abdel Shafi, especially since we find that educated individuals are more likely to vote for Mr. Abdel Shafi. As for George Habash, slightly more men than women support him.

As for age, support for Yassir Arafat is higher among the younger and older respondents and drops by an average of 10% among the middle-aged (28-35 years) groups. Support for Ahmed Yassin is higher among the younger respondents than the older ones.

Table 13

Election of Head of National Authority by Age

              Habash %     Arafat %     Yassin %      Abdel Shafi %      Other %      
18-22            11.3      42.9         23.8          04.2               17.9         
23-26            07.0      53.8         19.6          04.9               14.7         
27-30            09.4      35.2         24.5          12.6               18.2         
31-35            06.1      35.8         25.7          08.8               23.6         
36-42            04.3      46.4         20.0          10.0               19.3         
43-50            03.8      50.9         16.0          09.4               19.8         
51+              03.4      46.9         09.6          11.3               28.8         

The poll results show a relationship between place of residence and attitude towards the people listed in the questionnaire, where we find more support for Yassir Arafat from the camps and less from the villages. This is the oppostie of Ahmed Yassin, where the villages give him the largest percentage of votes, followed by the cities and towns. His support is the least in the refugee camps. This phenomena is linked to the low support for Ahmed Yassin in the Gaza Strip, where support for Fateh and the authority is common in the refugee camps.

Table 14

Election of Head of National Authority by Place of Residence

              Habash %     Arafat %     Yassin %      Abdel Shafi %      Other %      
City             05.8      43.1         19.0          11.3               20.8         
Town             03.8      43.6         17.9          09.0               25.6         
Village          08.3      39.4         24.4          07.7               20.2         
Refugee Camp     06.9      50.0         16.6          07.5               19.0         

The poll results show that support for Yassir Arafat is higher among refugees, whereas support for Ahmed Yassin and Hayder Abdel Shafi is higher among nonrefugees, which corresponds with the area and place of residence information presented above.

Support for these individuals is linked to degree of education, where support for Arafat is more common among those with less education, as shown by how 49% of those with primary education or less support Arafat, and 35% of those with a B.A. support him. Ahmed Yassin is more supported among those with Tawjihi, and Abdel Shafi among groups with 2 year college degrees.

Table 15

Election of Head of National Authority by Education

              Habash %     Arafat %     Yassin %      Abdel Shafi %      Other %      
9 years or       06.0      49.0         18.7          06.0               20.4         
less                                                                                  
Tawjihi          07.5      42.9         23.4          09.3               16.8         
2 year           06.6      37.7         15.6          18.0               22.1         
college                                                                               
B.A.             07.2      34.9         18.1          09.6               30.1         
M.A./PhD         06.7      33.3         06.7          13.3               40.0         

Elections

The current poll results confirm the results of the twelve previous polls where most Palestinians (81.8%) support the idea of general political elections as the preferred means to select the members of PISGA. Also 76% of the respondents expressed their intent to participate in the elections. It is noticeable that the desire to participate in elections is found among both supporters and opponents of the Declaration of Principles.

Table 16

Intent to Participate in Elections by Political Affiliation

                     Yes %                No %                 Not Sure %           
PFLP                        69.4          19.4                 11.2                 
PPP                         85.7          14.3                 ---                  
Hamas                       73.9          19.0                 07.1                 
Feda                         100          ---                  ---                  
Islamic Jihad               79.5          17.9                 02.6                 
Fateh                       85.7          09.8                 04.5                 
DFLP                        58.3          08.3                 33.4                 
Islamic Inds                75.8          09.1                 15.1                 
Nationalist Inds            92.5          06.0                 01.0                 
Other                       65.9          15.9                 18.2                 
No One                      47.2          34.7                 18.1                 

A larger percentage of men (81.9%) intend to participate in elections than women (70%). The intent to participate is higher in cities and villages than in refugee camps and towns, as shown in Table 17.

Table 17

Intent to Participate by Place of Residence

                     Yes %                No %                 Not Sure %           
Cities                      78.9          13.6                 07.5                 
Towns                       70.5          17.9                 11.6                 
Villages                    77.4          14.8                 07.8                 
Refugee Camps               73.1          18.2                 08.7                 

Political Affiliation

When compared with the results of the previous poll, the results of this poll show some differences. Particularly significant are:

a. While the overall popularity of Fateh is generally consistent between this poll and the last (42.8% last month compared with 42.3% this month), there are differences between the West Bank and Gaza, where support for Fateh in the West Bank fell 7.6%, from a percentage of 44.6% in the previous poll to 37% in the current poll. The opposite occurred in Gaza where support for Fateh rose from 40% to 50.6%. These results may be due to the existence of most of the national authority in Gaza and the institution building there, while in the West Bank a lack of concrete results from the negotiations leads to lower trust in the decisions of the authority, which effects the popularity of Fateh which most see as the main supporter of the authority. Also, as the poll results show, support for Fateh comes to a large extent from the camps and among refugees who are more numerous in the Gaza Strip than in the West Bank. These figures are opposite to what we find for support for Fateh among the residents of villages and nonrefugees, who are more numerous in the West Bank than in the Gaza Strip, and whose support is less. All of this leads to lower support for Fateh in the West Bank than in the Gaza Strip.

Table 18

Support for Fateh and Hamas by Refugee Status

              Fateh %       Hamas %       
Refugee           46.0      16.0          
Non-Refugee       38.2      19.0          

The poll results show that support for Fateh increases among those with less education, where we find that 44.5% of those with primary eduation or less support Fateh, compared with 31.9% of those with B.A. degrees.

Table 19

Support for Fateh and Hamas by Education

                            Fateh %                     Hamas %                     
9 years or less                        44.5             15.0                        
Tawjihi                                44.9             19.6                        
2 year college                         35.8             19.5                        
B.A.                                   31.3             16.9                        
M.A. or PhD                            40.0             13.3                        

b. Concerning the popularity of Hamas, support at the end of September was 10.1% and has increased this month to 17.4%. The latest result, in the opinion of most CPRS researchers, is more representative of Hamas support in the West Bank and Gaza. Previous polls conducted by CPRS have indicated that support for Hamas averages around 15% and repetition of these polls would cause any faction to return to its average. This may have been the case in the difference between last month's results for Hamas and this month's. There may have also been political factors that would account for an increase in the popularity of Hamas. The increase may have been due to an increase in the faction's activities, particularly of armed operations against Israeli targets. For many Palestinians, these operations that Hamas carried out are no more than an expression of the large degree of frustration from the lack of felt changes in their situation, represented by the continuation of the occupation and lack of progress in the negotiations. Also there is actual support for the armed operations at this stage among Palestinians as shown in the previous poll.

Support for Hamas was higher than support for Fateh in Hebron, where Hamas got 29.2% and Fateh 25%. This poll confirms what was found in all the previous polls where the Islamic groups in this district are obtaining a majority of support. We also find Hamas support in Tulkarm, Jenin, Gaza City, and Gaza Middle.

c. The percentage of support for independents (and others and no one) has declined from 33.1% in September to 27.2% currently. Since these groups make up a third of Palestinian society, it is worthwhile to understand the nature of the attitudes of their members. If we note the position of these groups regarding the armed operations against Israeli targets and we compare their positions with those of the supporters of Fateh and Hamas, we find that the position of the independent groups is in the middle between the two groups, as shown in Table 20.

Table 20

Armed Operations: Comparison between the Positions of the Independent Groups, Fateh, and Hamas

              Support %     Oppose %      Support WB    Support in    Don't Know %  
                                          only %        Israel only                 
                                                        %                           
Is. Inds.         39.4      27.3          03.0          23.2          06.1          
Nat'l Inds.       37.3      31.3                        17.9          06.0          
Others            43.2      31.8          04.5          09.1          11.4          
No One            19.6      42.0          01.4          16.1          21.0          
Fateh             23.7      43.0          05.1          20.4          07.8          
Hamas             51.6      17.9          04.3          19.6          06.6          

Regarding attitude towards the proposed solutions to the Palestinian cause, the results indicate that most of the Islamic independents (54.5%) and 40% of those declaring that they would vote for no one on the list, support the Islamic solution, a position closer to that of the Islamic movements. At the same time we find that 68.7% of nationalist independents, and 50% of those declaring that they will vote for a group not mentioned on the list, support the PLO solution (Table 19), a position closer to those supporting Fateh.

Table 21

Proposed Solutions: Comparison between the Positions of Independent Groups, Fateh, and Hamas

                 PLO %            Islamic %        Jordanian %      Other %          
Islamic Inds.         36.4        54.5             03.0             06.1             
National Inds.        68.7        22.4             03.0             06.0             
Other                 50.0        36.4             02.3             11.4             
No One                33.6        40.0             11.4             15.0             
Fateh                 70.1        19.6             05.2             05.1             
Hamas                 14.8        79.8             03.3             02.2             

Finally, the average support for Yassir Arafat is approximately equal among these groups (20%) and despite the fact that the largest percentage of all these groups (not counting nationalist independents) tend not to specify their candidate, support for Yassir Arafat among those not choosing a faction or choosing a faction not listed is higher than support for any other person. Among Islamic independents, Ahmed Yassin obtained the most votes, and Hayder Abdel Shafi got the most votes among nationalist independents.

Table 22

Election of Head of National Authority by Independent Groups

              Habash %     Arafat %    Yassin %      Abdel Shafi %      Other %       
Is. Inds.         ---      18.2        27.3          15.2               39.4          
Nat'l Inds       01.6      24.2        01.6          50.0               22.6          
Other            02.3      20.9        04.7          11.6               60.5          
No One           02.8      18.4        12.1          08.5               58.2          

Despite the fact that these given figures are not enough to arrive at a final conclusion regarding the subject, it appears that the people who are claiming independence from political factions are in fact independent in more than name. However, we can say that the position of the nationalist independents tends to support the general line of the PLO. As for the Islamic independents, they lean mostly towards the position of the Islamic groups. Also an examination of the results of this and previous polls leads us to say that Fateh is able to take the votes of most of those who answered the political affiliation question with "other." Hamas might be able to attract the votes of some of those who have declared that they would vote for "no one" if these individuals decide to participate in elections.

Appendix

1. With regard to the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty, I...
                                               Total  West Bank Gaza
a. believe it will harm the                     51.7%   48.6%   56.6%
Palestinian cause.
b. believe it will benefit the                  10.9%   12.0%   09.0% 
Palestinian cause.
c. believe it will have no effect,              20.4%   21.1%   19.4%
positive or negative on
the Palestinian cause.
d. don't know                                   17.0%   18.3%   15.0%
2. The Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty will...
a. increase Jordanian influence                 48.9%   48.3%   50.0%
in the West Bank.
b. decrease Jordanian influence                 10.6%   08.7%   13.6%
in the West Bank.
c. not change Jordanian influence               21.3%   23.2%   18.2%
in the West Bank.
d. I don't know                                 19.2%   19.8%   18.2%
3. With regard to the carrying out of armed operations against Israeli 
targets in the West Bank and Israel (outside the autonomous areas) by 
Palestinian groups, 
a. I support these operations                   33.3%   28.2%   41.4%
b. I do not support these operations            34.4%   36.7%   30.7%
c. I support these armed operations             04.5%   03.6%   05.8%
in the West Bank only.
d. I support these armed operations             18.8%   19.9%   17.0%
in Israel only.
e. I don't know                                 09.0%   11.6%   05.1%
4. After witnessing the Israeli implementation of the Palestinian-Israeli 
agreement on the ground up until now, I feel that
a. Israel is serious in seeking to              18.0%   18.9%   16.5%
achieve peace with the
Palestinians.
b. Israel is not serious in seeking             72.3%   70.7%   74.7%
to achieve peace with the
Palestinians.
c. I have no opinion                            09.7%   10.4%   08.8%
5. The solution that I accept for the Palestinian cause is...
a. the PLO solution (establishment of           49.8%   50.5%   48.7%
two states in Palestine: Israel
and a Palestinian state in the
West Bank and Gaza).
b. the Islamic solution (that which is          38.7%   35.9%   43.1%
suggested by the Islamic
movements and calling for the
liberation of Palestine from the sea
to the river).
c. the Jordanian solution (Jordan               05.1%   08.0%   00.5%
negotiating with Israel to re-annex
or unite the West Bank with Jordan)
d. other (specify)                              06.4%   05.7%   07.7%
6. Do you support the establishment of dialogue between Hamas and Israel?
a. Yes                                          59.1%   59.0%   59.1%
b. No                                           29.8%   28.2%   32.4%
c. No opinion                                   11.1%   12.8%   08.5%
7. In a staetment released by the "Local Government and Elections Commission" 
it was reported that the proposed Palestinian electoral law will state that 
the head of the Palestinian Authority will be elected directly by the people. 
If a separate election for the head of the National Authority takes place, 
and the following nominate themselves, I will choose...
a. George Habash                                 06.8%   06.9%   06.6% 
b. Yassir Arafat                                 44.2%   37.2%   55.3%
c. Ahmed Yassin                                  19.7%   23.0%   14.7%
d. Hayder Abdel Shafi                            08.9%   10.0%   07.1%
e. Other (Specify)                               20.4%   22.9%   16.3%
8. In your opinion, what is the best way to choose the members of the 
"Palestinian Council" of the Palestinian Interim Self-Governing Authority?
a. Appointment by PLO leadership                10.5%   09.1%   12.7%
b. Appointment by political groups              04.7%   04.1%   05.6% 
on a quota basis.
c. Political Elections                          81.8%   82.9%   80.0%
d. Other                                        03.0%   03.9%   01.7%
9. Will you participate in the election for the "Palestinian Council" 
of the Palestinian Interim Self-Governing Authority?
a. Yes                                          76.0%   76.4%   75.4%
b. No                                           15.7%   16.1%   15.1%
c. Not sure                                     08.3%   07.5%   09.5% 
10. If elections were to be held today, and you decided to participate, 
you would vote for candidates affiliated with:
a. PFLP                                         05.9%   05.7%   06.1%
b. People's Party (Hizb el-Sha'b)               01.3%   01.7%   00.7% 
c. Hamas                                        17.4%   17.6%   17.0% 
d. Feda                                         01.1%   01.9%   00.0%
e. Islamic Jihad                                03.7%   04.6%   02.2%
f. Fateh                                        42.3%   37.0%   50.6% 
g. DFLP                                         01.1%   01.2%   01.0%
h. Islamic independents                         03.1%   03.4%   02.7% 
i. Nationalist independents                     06.3%   07.9%   03.9% 
j. Other (specify)                              04.2%   02.6%   06.6%
k. None of the above                            13.6%   16.4%   09.2% 

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