CPRS Polls - Survey Research Unit
Public Opinion Poll #14
Negotiations, PNA and Opposition, Jordanian-Palestinian Relations, Elections, and the Presidency of the PNA, December 29-31, 1994
This is the fourteenth 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: Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, the PNA and the opposition, Jordanian-Palestinian relations, elections, and the Presidency of the PNA.

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.

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).

Table of Contents

General Background

Among the most important events in the period immediately preceeding this poll were the following:

-A confrontation between the Palestinian police and demonstrators occurred outside the Palestine Mosque in Gaza City after Friday prayers on 18 November, 1994.

-The issue of settlements and land confiscation was the subject of protest marches, especially around the village of al-Khader, where 600 dunams of land were expropriated. Palestinians considered this expropriation to be a violation of the Oslo Agreement, and a number of Palestinian officials participated in the marches and threatened to halt negotiations.

-The Israeli government passed a law prohibiting activity by Palestinian national institutions in Jerusalem.

-During the last month, authority over taxation and health care was transferred from the Israelis to the Palestinian National Authority.

-Armed attacks were carried out against Israeli targets; for example, 11 Israelis were injured in a suicide attack close to a military bus in West Jerusalem on December 25.

-Regionally, the past month has witnessed the exchange of ambassadors between Israel and Jordan, which led to tension in Palestinian-Jordanian relations. On the Lebanese front, fighting intensified between the IDF and Hizbullah; a number of Israeli soldiers and Lebanese civilians were killed. At the same time, a summit of Islamic states convened in Morocco; the results emphasized Jerusalem's Palestinian identity and asserted Palestinian sovereignty over the city.

-The issue of Palestinian elections was the focus of a meeting between Yassir Arafat and Itzhak Rabin. After the meeting, Arafat announced that agreements had been reached on most issues concerning the elections for PISGA, but the conflict over the redeployment of Israeli forces (a precondition for Palestinian elections) was not resolved.


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

SRU researchers adopted a multi-stage sample selection process. 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. 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.

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  (110/10.2%)   Nablus (C), Zouata    Tulkarm/Qalqilya      Burqin (V), 'Azoun    
                      (V), 'Aqraba (V),     (86/7.9%)             (T), Hableh (V),      
                      'Asira (T), 'Ain                            Tulkarm (C), Nur      
                      Beit al-Ma' (RC)                            Shams (RC)            
Jenin (77/7.1%)       'Aja (V), Jenin       Jericho (20/1.8%)     Jericho (T)           
                      (C), Ya'bad (T),                                                  
                      Jenin (RC), Kufr                                                  
                      Dan (V)                                                           
Ramallah (105/9.7%)   Silwad (T), Beit      Hebron (120/11.1%)    Hebron (C), Dura      
                      'Anan (V), Beit                             (T), Halhoul (T),     
                      Laqiyyeh (V),                               al-'Aroub (RC),       
                      al-Bireh (C),                               al-Masoua' (T),       
                      Ramallah (C),                               Beit 'Auwa (V)        
                      al-Amari (RC)                                                     
Jerusalem (79/7.3%)   Old City,             Bethlehem (70/6.5%)   Bethlehem (C),        
                      as-Souahra (V),                             Tafoua' (V),          
                      Shu'fat (RC), at-Tur                        al-'Aziriyyeh (T),    
                                                                  Deheisheh (RC)        
Gaza North            Beit Hanoun (V),      Gaza City             al-Rimal,             
(100/9.2%)            Jabalya (RC),         (135/12.5%)           ad-Darraj,            
                      an-Nazlah (V)                               as-Shati,             
Gaza Middle           al-Boureij,            Gaza South           Rafah (C), Rafah      
(90/8.3%)             an-Nusseirat, Khan    (90/8.3%)             (RC)                  
                      Younis (RC), 'Absan                                               
                      al-Kbireh (V)                                                     

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 666 questionnaires from the West Bank and 416 from Gaza, for a total of 1082 interviews. Table 2 provides the reader with data on sample distribution for the present poll where the sample was selected based on household interviews.

Sample Distribution

(Expressed as a % of the total sample)
Area of Residence
West Bank "including Jerusalem"
Gaza Strip

Refugee Camps

Up to 9 years (elem./prep)
Up to 12 years (Tawjihi)
2 year College
University (BA)
MA + Phd.


Refugee Status
* Employees: Schoolteacher, Government Employee, Nurse, Lower-level Company Employee, Secretary, etc.
** 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.

Data Collection

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. Household interviews resulted in a lower non-response rate, estimated at 7%. Some respondents, we believe, were reluctant to state their political views out of fear or disinterest in the present political factions .

Data Analysis

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%.


Palestinian-Israeli Negotiations

A total of 38.7% of respondents expressed their support for continuing the negotiations with Israel, compared with 31.5% who supported suspending the negotiations until Israel complies with the terms of the agreements signed with the Palestinians. A further 20.6% supported halting negotiations permanently. The numbers indicate that the majority of Palestinians are in favor of either suspending or halting negotiations, where many of them stipulate as a precondition for continuing the negotiations the compliance of Israel with the terms of the agreements, particularly the implementation of the agreements on the ground. Most Palestinians (72.3%) do not believe that Israel is sincere in seeking peace with the Palestinians, as shown in the previous poll that CPRS conducted in November 1994. Most Palestinians support the negotiations in principle which may be a reflection of the lack of alternatives.

There is a difference in perspective on this subject between the residents of the West Bank and the residents of the Gaza Strip, where a larger percentage of West Bank residents (23.3%) support halting negotiations permanently and 32.6% support suspending negotiations. At the same time, only 12.3% of the Gaza Strip respondents support halting the negotiations and 29.8% support suspending them. Moreover, only 35.7% of West Bank residents support continuing negotiations in contrast to 43.5% of Gaza Strip residents who are supportive of such an option. The larger percentage of support for the negotiations in the Gaza Strip may be due to the fact that the Gaza Strip has witnessed more the fruits of such negotiations, whereas in the West Bank there is a large perception of Israeli non-compliance with the agreements as shown by the procrastination in transfering authority to the PNA and the continuation of land expropriation in Jerusalem and other areas. Despite the fact that halting the negotiations would harm chances to end Israeli practices, the large support in the West Bank for halting the negotiations may be a reflection of the growing feeling that the negotiations have not been fruitful and that there is a need to find other means to achieve Palestinian goals. The large support for the negotiations in Gaza may also be due to the larger support for Yassir Arafat and Fateh in the Gaza Strip than in the West Bank.

We find that there is a relationship between age and support for the negotiations where older respondents are more supportive of continuing the negotiations. Also, there is a relationship between education and support for the negotiations; the more educated respondents are more in favor of halting the negotiations, where 30% of those with a bachelor's degree are supportive of halting negotiations, compared with 15% of those with only a primary education. We notice also that a larger percentage of men (26%) support halting negotiations than women (15%).

While support for continuing the negotiations comes to a large extent from supporters of the peace process, a significant percentage of opposition supporters favor continuing the negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis, as represented by 22.6% of Hamas supporters choosing the option to continue negotiations.

Table 3

Attitudes Towards Negotiations by Political Affiliation

              Halt %        Suspend Pending      Continue %          No Opinion %       
                            Israeli Compliance                                          
                            w/ DOP %                                                    
PFLP              54.2      23.6                 15.3                06.9               
Fateh             05.7      33.0                 56.5                04.8               
Islamic           42.9      32.1                 21.4                03.6               
PPP               22.2      55.6                 11.1                11.1               
Hamas             42.9      22.0                 22.6                12.4               
DFLP              40.0      20.0                 33.3                06.7               
Feda              11.1      22.2                 55.6                11.1               
Islamic Ind       35.9      38.5                 07.7                17.9               
Nationalist       15.4      48.1                 28.8                07.7               
Other             15.9      32.9                 39.0                12.2               
None of the       19.2      34.4                 30.4                16.0               

Future Relations with Jordan

Most of the Palestinians (64.5%) support the option of two independent states: Jordan and Palestine. We find that support for complete unity between Jordan and Palestine is 18.5% and support for confederation is 14.4%, which gives 32.9% of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip supporting some form of unity with Jordan.

Support for some form of unity with Jordan comes more from the West Bank than the Gaza Strip. These results correspond with what was shown during a previous CPRS poll conducted in September 1994, where 45.4% of West Bank residents supported some form of unity with Jordan, compared with 34.7% from the Gaza Strip. However, we notice that there is a decrease in support for unity with Jordan in the West Bank (by approximately 7%) and this drop may be attributed to tension in the relations between the Palestinian leadership and Jordanian government in the recent period. In contrast, we find an increase in support for an independent state from 60.5% in September to 64.5% in this poll. This increase corresponds with the increase in popularity for Fateh and Yassir Arafat.

The current poll results show that support for some form of unity with Jordan comes largely from the areas of Jenin, Nablus, Jericho, and Jerusalem. Despite the prevailing belief that the Hebron and Bethlehem areas are among the most supportive of Jordan, the results show that support for the idea of unity or confederation in these areas is below average. (See Table 4)

Table 4

Attitude Towards Palestinian-Jordanian Relations by Area of Residence

                 Two              Unity %          Confederation    Other %          
                 Independent                       %                                 
                 States %                                                            
Nablus                50.0        17.6             25.9             06.5             
Tulkarm               65.1        22.1             11.6             01.2             
Jenin                 45.3        37.3             17.4             ---              
Jericho               55.0        25.0             20.0             ---              
Ramallah              59.0        24.8             12.4             03.8             
Hebron                68.9        22.7             08.4             ---              
Bethlehem             77.1        14.3             08.6             ---              
Jerusalem             53.8        20.5             21.8             03.9             
Gaza North            80.0        09.0             08.0             03.0             
Gaza City             70.1        09.7             17.2             03.0             
Gaza Middle           74.2        10.1             12.4             03.3             
Gaza South            64.0        19.1             13.5             03.4             

We notice also that supoprt for unity (complete unity or confederation) increases in the cities (37%), followed by towns (35%), villages (32%), and camps (27%). Support for unity decreases among those with higher degrees where it is 19%, compared with higher percentages in other groups such as 38% among those with only primary education, 32% among those with secondary education and 31% among those with college degrees. Also, older respondents were more likely to support some form of unity, as evidenced in Table 6.

Table 5

Attitude Towards Future Palestinian-Jordanian Relations by Age

                 Two Ind.         Unity %          Confederation %  Others %         
                 States %                                                            
18-22                 70.7        14.7             12.0             02.6             
23-26                 71.4        17.1             10.0             01.4             
27-30                 68.2        14.7             13.5             03.6             
31-35                 63.9        15.6             19.0             01.5             
36-42                 67.1        15.8             15.8             01.3             
43-50                 60.2        20.4             17.5             01.9             
51+                   47.6        31.9             15.1             05.4             

The Events at the Palestine Mosque

A total of 32.7% of the respondents hold Israel alone responsible for the events at the Palestine Mosque in Gaza on November 18, 1994, in which 13 Palestinians were killed and 250 injured. Another 28.7% believe that all of the parties (Israel, the PNA, and Palestinian opposition groups) are responsible, compared with 18.4% who hold the PNA alone responsible, another 7.1% holding Hamas and other opposition groups alone responsible, and 13.1% who blame other parties.

Israel carries primary responsibility for the events in Palestinian opinion, which could be due to the actual belief that Israel is responsible for the specific events or to an automatic assumption that Israel is responsible for any tragic events. Also, social-psychological studies have shown that there is a tendency for members of a society to blam outside forces for tragic events in an effort to promote internal unity. This possibility is supported by the larger number of Palestinian respondents, especially in Gaza, blaming outside parties for these events and reflected in the statements issued by a number of Palestinian leaders attributing responsibility to a number of outsiders.

More Palestinians blame the PNA than the opposition. Among Fateh supporters only 11% attributed responsibility to the opposition. Supporters of Fateh and Feda are less likely to blame the PNA than those supporting opposition groups. (Table 6)

Table 6

Parties Considered Responsible for Events at the Palestine Mosque by Political Affiliation

              Israel %      Hamas and     PNA%          All of the    Other         
                            Opposition                  Above %       Parties %     
                            Groups %                                                
PFLP              23.6      02.8          51.4          18.1          04.2          
Fateh             39.9      11.2          05.3          28.5          15.1          
Islamic           14.3      03.6          50.0          25.0          07.1          
PPP               ---       11.1          11.1          77.8          ---           
Hamas             29.9      01.1          36.2          20.3          12.4          
DFLP              26.7      13.3          40.0          20.0          ---           
Feda              66.7      ---           ---           22.2          11.1          
Islamic Indp      39.5      02.6          21.1          31.6          05.3          
Nationalist       27.5      07.8          11.8          43.1          09.8          
Other             19.8      02.5          18.5          37.0          22.2          
None of the       28.5      08.1          16.3          33.3          13.8          

If we compare the situation in the West Bank with that in the Gaza Strip, we find that a larger percentage of West Bank residents attribute responsibility to the PNA (19.5%) than in the Gaza Strip (16.5%) where we find that not a small percentage (22.8%) believe that other parties are responsible for the events.

The number of respondents blaming the PNA alone for the Gaza mosque incident is highest in the areas of Hebron and Bethlehem. Exactly one third of respondents from the Hebron area and 28.6% from the Bethlehem area hold the PNA responsible for the incidents. (See Table 7).

Table 7

Parties Considered Responsible for Events at the Palestine Mosque by Area of Residence

              Israel %      Hamas and     PNA %         All of the    Other         
                            Opposition %                Above %       Parties %     
Nablus            34.6      13.1          15.9          28.0          08.4          
Tulkarm           34.1      08.2          09.4          35.3          12.9          
Jenin             34.7      06.7          09.3          48.0          01.3          
Jericho           30.0      05.0          15.0          30.0          20.0          
Ramallah          32.0      02.9          17.5          33.0          14.6          
Hebron            38.3      05.0          33.3          23.3          ---           
Bethlehem         37.1      05.7          28.6          25.7          02.9          
Jerusalem         33.8      07.8          19.5          32.3          06.5          
Gaza North        23.2      10.1          16.2          25.3          25.3          
Gaza City         29.1      06.7          17.2          25.4          21.6          
Gaza Middle       30.3      05.6          15.7          27.0          21.3          
Gaza South        34.8      06.7          16.9          19.1          22.5          

A larger percentage of men (21%) blame the PNA, compared with 15% of women. Also, more educated respondents are more likely to attribute blame to the authority, as demonstrated by Table 8.

Table 8

Parties Considered Reponsible for the Events at the Palestine Mosque by Education

              Israel %      Hamas and     PNA %         All of the    Other         
                            Other                       Above %       Parties%      
                            Opposition %                                            
9 Years or        35.9      07.4          15.5          26.4          14.8          
Tawjihi           32.8      08.4          19.5          28.5          10.8          
2 Year            30.6      07.4          13.2          37.2          11.6          
B.A.              25.2      03.3          27.6          29.3          14.6          
M.A. or PhD       16.7      ---           44.4          22.2          16.7          

There is a relationship between age and attitude towards the events at the Palestine Mosque where we find that older respondents are less likely to hold the Palestinian authority responsible, as shown in Table 9.

Table 9

Parties Considered Responsible for Events at Palestine Mosque by Age

              Israel %      Hamas and     PNA %         All of the    Other         
                            Opposition %                Above %       Parties %     
18-22             37.4      08.4          21.6          20.5          12.1          
23-36             27.0      07.8          29.1          28.4          07.8          
27-30             26.2      09.3          19.8          31.4          13.4          
31-35             37.0      05.5          14.4          28.1          15.1          
36-42             32.2      04.9          19.6          28.7          14.7          
43-50             36.3      04.9          11.8          36.3          10.8          
51+               32.9      07.3          11.6          31.7          16.5          

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