CPRS Polls - Survey Research Unit
Public Opinion Poll #16
Armed Attacks, Negotiations, Jenin Proposal, Elections, Economic Situation, and the Palestinian-Jordanian Relations, March 16-18, 1995
This is the sixteenth 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: elections, the proposal to place Jenin under the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian-Jordanian relations, Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, and armed attacks against Israeli targets.

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. Since previous polls have shown Hebron to be a particularly unique area, this poll focuses on Hebron in order to compare it with other areas with regard to the topics discussed and a larger sample was taken in the Hebron area. This approach also allows CPRS researchers to test the methodology used, by comparing previous smaller samples with the larger one gathered this month. (See Focus on Hebron).

Here are the main findings of this poll:

Enclosed are the results of the current public opinion poll that has been conducted in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (see Appendix) and a summary of the analysis of the results.

Table of Contents

General Background

In the period immediately preceding this poll the closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip continued, although it was eased slightly as some permits were re-issued. Also, negotiations, which had been suspended following the Beit Lid attack, resumed in Cairo between the Palestinians and the Israelis concerning elections and redeployment of Israeli troops in the West Bank. There were reports of progress in the elections talks. Arafat and Peres met and announced that they have set the 1st of July as a deadline for finishing the redeployment and elections talks. Reports were published indicating that a secret deal concerning redeployment may have already been reached. During this period, Yassir Arafat decided to form a National Security Court to try persons accused of security offenses. Also, a conference of the foreign ministers of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority was held in Amman concerning those Palestinians displaced during the 1967 war and the possibility of their return. The U.S. Secretary of State visited Gaza in the context of his Middle East trip designed to encourage resumption of the Israeli-Syrian negotiations. This period also marked the first anniversary of the Hebron Mosque Massacre and many Palestinians were prohibited from entering Jerusalem for Ramadan prayers. Also, it marked the first celebrations of Eid al-Fitr under Palestinian Authority for the autonomous areas. There were no incidents of Palestinian armed attacks against Israeli targets reported during this relatively calm period.


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. During this poll, a question where respondents were asked to specify their religion was added to the demographic section. CPRS also added a question regarding marital status that had been used previously but dropped for a period. The section on unemployment that was added in the previous two polls remained in this questionnaire as well.

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. The percentages reflect the weighting for the disproportionately large Hebron sample.

District (Sample       Localities (Type)      District (Sample       Localities (Type)         
Size/ %)                                      Size/%)                                          
Nablus  (112/09.8%)    Nablus  Salim,         Tulkarm/Qalqilya       Tulkarm city and camp,    
                       Taluza, 'Aqraba,       (90/07.8%)             Siyda, Kafr 'Abush,       
                       Balata Camp                                   Bala'a                    
Jenin (90/07.8%)       Dir Abu Da'if,         Jericho (25/02.2%)     Jericho                   
                       'Araana, Jaba',                                                         
                       Toubas, Jenin Camp                                                      
Ramallah (111/09.7%)   Bateen, Beitounia,     Hebron (284*/11.9%)    Hebron, Dura, Halhoul,    
                       Ain Yabrud,            *See introduction      al-'Aroub, Beit 'Auwa,    

                       al-Bireh, Ramallah,    and page 4 for         al-Shiyukh, Bini          
                       Jalazon Camp           explanation of         Na'aim, Beit Ula,         
                                              Hebron sample size     Tarqumiya, Yatta,         
                                                                     al-Thahiriya, Beith       
                                                                     Kahil, Beit Ummar,        
Jerusalem (76/06.6%)   Old City, Beit         Bethlehem (75/06.5%)   Bethlehem,  Deheisheh     
                       Hanina, Beit Safafa,                          Camp, al-Sawahra, Abu     
                       Shufat Camp                                   Dis                       
Gaza North (70/06.1%)  Beit Hanoun, Jabalya   Gaza City (173/15.1%)  al-Rimal, ad-Daraj,       
                       Camp, Beit Lahiya                             as-Shati, al-Sheik        
                                                                     Radhwan, al-Tofaah,       
Gaza Middle            Nusseirat Camp, Dir     Gaza South            Rafah city and camp       
(140/12.2%)            Balah Camp, Bureij     (50/04.4%)                                       
                       Camp, 'Absaan                                                           
                       Kabira, al-Qaraara,                                                     
                       Khan Younis City                                                        

*The fieldworkers conducted interviews in 77 cities, villages, and camps where over 145 sampling units were used.

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.

Sample Distribution

(Expressed as a % of the total sample)
Sample Distribution March 1995 Education March 1995
West Bank
Gaza Strip
63.0 (62.0)
37.0 (38.0)
Up to 9 yrs.
10-12 years
Two-Yr. Coll.
51.0 (53.0)
28.0 (27.0)
10.0 (20.0)***
Refugee Camp

Divorced or
Over 50


*Specialists (University teacher, engineer, doctor, lawyer, pharmacist, excecutive).
**Employees(school teacher, government employee, nurse, lower-level company employee.
Population Estimates are based on the "Statistical Abstract of Israel" (1993) and FAFO (1993).
*** for all post-secondary degrees.

We received 863 questionnaires from the West Bank and 433 from Gaza, for a total of 1296 interviews. In the Hebron area, we interviewed 284 Palestinians. Since the Hebron sample is disproportionately large, it was weighted (in this case, deflated) when included in the totals. Table 2 provides the reader with data on sample distribution for the present poll where the sample was selected based on household interviews. The percentages reflect the weighting for the Hebron sample.

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. More experienced fieldworkers from the Nablus area travelled to Hebron to train fieldworkers there. An exchange of experiences, expertise, and problems was facilitated, and feedback from fieldworkers indicated their increased interest in and appreciation of the importance of their work as they gained greater exposure to other contexts.

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%.



The poll results indicate that the rate of unemployment is 38%, compared with 51% last month and 30% at the end of December. The data show that the heightened closure preceding our February poll which prevented all Palestinian workers from entering Israel resulted in a 19 point increase of the unemployment rate. Less than two months later, the rate dropped to 38% as some of the unemployed found some type of work in the West Bank and Gaza or were able to go back to their jobs in Israel as around 10,000 Palestinians were issued permits to enter Israel. The results of this poll and previous polls show a correlation between area of residence and unemployment rate. The various areas of the Gaza Strip (except Gaza City) suffer from unemployment the most, followed by the southern and northern districts of the West Bank. The Gaza areas are inhabited primarily by refugees who are affected by unemployment more than non-refugees. Unemployment is widespread in refugee camps and villages. Cities are least affected by unemployment. The unemployment rate is higher among women than men and among the young and the least educated. The fact that cities and the middle of the West Bank (Ramallah and Jerusalem) are least affected by unemployment might be due to a number of factors: 1)This area is more developed than other areas. Also, most of the industrial, trade, and services sector is located here. 2)The local offices of many international organizations are located in the middle of the West Bank, which is also the focus of their development projects. Also, PNA offices are centered in this area and Gaza city. 3.)The residents of this area are least dependent on work in Israel. Also, many residents of Ramallah depend on remittances from family members working abroad. As for Jerusalem residents, they are not affected by the closure to the same degree, with regard to unemployment.

With regard to education, there is a direct relationship where those with university degrees are the least affected by unemployment, particularly after the closure of Israeli markets. This may be due in part to the fact that they are least dependent on the Israeli markets and the fact most of the jobs created by the PNA institutions require higher education.

Also, we notice that the youngest respondents were the most affected by unemployment, particularly those who are married, as they are not issued permits to enter Israel for work.

Table 3

Unemployment Demographics

March 1995
Unemployed %
March 1995
Unemployed %
Area of Residence
WB North
WB Middle
WB South
Gaza City
Gaza Other

Up to 9 yrs
10-12 yrs
2-yr college

Refugee Camp




*West Bank North: Nablus, Tulkarm, Jenin
West Bank Middle: Ramallah, Jericho,Jerusalem
West Bank South: Bethlehem, Hebron

Unemployment is spread throughout the West Bank and Gaza, where it is at 43% in Gaza and 35% in the West Bank. This percentage of unemployment represents persons who are part of the labor force and did not work (not even for one hour) the week preceding the poll, who want to work, and are actively seeking work. However, if we look at the people who want to work but are not looking for some reason or another (discouraged labor), we find that their percentage is 13% of the labor force (defined here as those working or wanting to work, whether actively looking or not). Among those who are working, 84% are full-time workers and 16% are part-time.

Future Relations with Jordan

Most Palestinians (65%) support the establishment of two independent states: Jordan and Palestine, compared with 29% supporting a form of unity with Jordan, whether through confederation (14%) or complete unity (15%). In this respect, we find that more West Bank residents support a form of unity with Jordan than Gaza Strip residents. We notice that there is a decrease in support among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza for a form of unity with Jordan, whether complete unity or confederation, where support for this idea was at 37% in October of 1994 and 33% in December.

We find that support for a form of unity with Jordan is 41% among those with a bachelor's degree and decreases to 23% among those with secondary school education. (See Table 4)

Table 4

Attitude Towards Future Relations with Jordan by Education

                      2 Ind. Countries   Complete Unity %  Confederation   Other %    
                      %                                    %                          
up to 9 yrs                 63.2         20.4              11.2            05.2       
9-12 yrs                    72.9         10.6              12.4            04.1       
2-yr college                70.8         09.6              17.2            02.4       
University degree(s)        53.9         11.3              28.6            06.1       

Also, support for unity is higher among men than among women. This support is located to a great extent in the cities and among laborers, merchants, and specialists. Support for unity with Jordan increases with age. (See Table 5)

Table 5

Attitude Towards Future Relations with Jordan by Age

                 Two Ind. Countries   Complete Unity %   Confederation %  Other %    
18-22                   70.4          16.6               09.1             03.9       
23-26                   73.8          07.5               13.4             05.3       
27-30                   74.8          07.5               13.4             05.3       
31-35                   66.9          16.4               14.4             02.3       
36-42                   61.4          17.6               14.0             07.0       
43-50                   60.3          16.1               17.9             05.8       
51+                     53.9          22.2               16.7             07.2       

Support for unity is also located to a large extent among independents and among supporters of Fateh and Hamas. Support for unity (whether complete or confederation) is no higher in the area of Hebron than in other West Bank areas, rather we find that supprt for unity here is less than in any area. Support for unity with Jordan is higher in Jericho and Nablus. (See Table 6)

Table 6

Attitude Towards Future Relations with Jordan by Area of Residence

                 Two Ind. Countries   Complete Unity %   Confederation %  Other %    
Nablus                  55.4          22.3               16.1             06.3       
Tulkarm                 65.2          18.0               16.9             ---        
Jenin                   71.1          20.0               08.9             ---        
Jericho                 32.0          28.0               32.0             08.0       
Ramallah                59.5          12.6               17.1             10.8       
Hebron                  69.0          14.8               12.3             03.9       
Bethlehem               62.7          13.3               13.3             10.7       
Jerusalem               60.5          19.7               11.8             07.9       
Gaza North              75.7          17.1               07.1             ---        
Gaza City               76.3          08.1               13.3             02.3       
Gaza Middle             65.0          15.0               12.9             07.1       
Gaza South              68.0          10.0               20.0             02.0       

View of the Future

A total of 49% of respondents declared that they are optimistic, compared with 32% who are pessimistic and 19% who are not sure. Optimism was higher in the Gaza Strip than in the West Bank. Also, when compared with the results of previous polls (February and March 1994), the percentage of optimism has increased by at least 10%.

Optimism decreases with education where it is 57% among the least educated and increases to 39% among those with bachelor's degrees. (See Table 7)

Table 7

View of the Future by Education

                        Optimistic %   Pessimistic %        Not Sure %           
up to 9 years               57.1          26.3                 16.6                 
9-12 years                  40.7          37.7                 21.7                 
2-year college              44.5          34.7                 20.8                 
University                  38.0          39.0                 23.0                 

We find also that men are more pessimistic than women. We notice that there is a direct relationship between age and optimism and that optimism is higher among supporters of Fateh than among those of other groups. (See Table 8)

Table 8

View of Future by Political Affiliation (Selected Groups)

                        Optimistic %    Pessimistic %        Not Sure %           
Fateh                       62.8          21.0                 16.2                 
Hamas                       25.9          56.1                 17.9                 
Islamic Jihad               37.4          47.9                 14.7                 
DFLP                        30.2          44.7                 25.1                 
PFLP                        35.0          49.2                 15.8                 
Islamic Inds.               20.4          48.1                 31.4                 
Nationalist Inds.           41.5          44.6                 13.9                 

Palestinian-Israeli Negotiations

The poll results indicate that 67% support continuing the negotiations with Israel, compared with 21% who oppose continuing them. Here also we notice a difference between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip where more respondents from Gaza support continuing the negotiations. Also, the current level of support for negotiations is unprecedented. If we look at January 1994 we find that support for the negotiations at that time was 51%. Support for negotiations is present to a large extent among supporters of Fateh, however, there is more than slight support among supporters of opposition factions. (See Table 9)

Table 9

Attitude Towards Continuing Negotiations by Political Affiliation (Selected Groups)

                            Yes %         No %                 No Opinion %         
Fateh                       84.0          07.8                 08.2                 
Hamas                       37.6          47.9                 14.5                 
Islamic Jihad               54.8          35.5                 09.7                 
DFLP                        66.7          33.3                 ---                  
PFLP                        45.1          43.1                 11.8                 
Islamic Inds.               38.7          41.9                 19.4                 
Nationalist Inds.           55.9          37.3                 06.8                 

Support for continuing the negotiations decreases with increase in education, where those with university degrees are the most opposed to continuing them. (Table 10).

Table 10

Attitude Towards Continuing Negotiations by Education

                            Yes %         No %                 No Opinion %         
up to 9 years               70.7          16.6                 12.7                 
9-12 years                  60.1          26.0                 14.0                 
2-year college              68.6          24.9                 06.5                 
University                  61.5          30.8                 07.6                 

As shown in Table 11, opposition to continuing the negotiations is higher among older respondents than among younger ones.

Table 11

Attitude Towards Continuing Negotiations by Age

                            Yes %         No %                 No Opinion %         
18-22                       56.1          28.6                 15.3                 
23-26                       63.0          25.9                 11.1                 
27-30                       60.2          26.9                 12.9                 
31-35                       70.1          22.6                 07.3                 
36-42                       67.6          20.4                 12.0                 
43-50                       73.3          16.9                 09.8                 
51+                         76.1          10.1                 13.8                 

Also, students and the unemployed are more opposed to the continuation of the negotiations than any other group (Table 12).

Table 12

Attitude Towards Continuing Negotiations by Occupation

                            Yes %         No %                 No Opinion %         
Students                    56.1          30.5                 13.4                 
Waged laborers              66.6          24.6                 08.8                 
Housewives                  64.6          18.2                 17.2                 
Employees                   74.3          18.2                 07.5                 
Merchants                   67.5          20.8                 11.8                 
Farmers                     72.0          20.2                 07.8                 
Craftspeople                70.2          24.9                 05.0                 
Professionals               73.5          26.5                 ---                  
Unemployed                  63.6          28.0                 08.4                 
Retired                     83.3          11.1                 05.6                 

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