PSR - Survey Research Unit: Poll No. 2 - Joint Press Release

PRESS RELEASE

'PESSIMISM' UNDERSCORES FINDINGS OF NEW ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PUBLIC OPINION POLL

 

Table of Contents:

The poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, finds that the Palestinians are determined to continue their struggle and Israelis strongly support PM Sharon's current policy.

A joint survey of Palestinian and Israeli public opinion, conducted between July 5-11 2001, finds that both publics are pessimistic concerning the long-term prospects of renewing the peace process.

Forty one percent of the Israelis and 46 percent of the Palestinians believe that there is no chance to reach a peace agreement in the foreseeable future

The joint poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, is the second in an ongoing research project into the opinions of the two publics. The first poll was conducted in July 2000 at the wake of the Camp David summit. The current poll was designed to examine the impact of the year-long armed confrontations on the attitudes towards peace and reconciliation.

The poll was planned and supervised by Dr. Yaacov Shamir, professor of Communication and at the Hebrew University and Dr. Khalil Shikaki, professor of Political Science and director of PSR. The two surveys included identical questions. A representative sample of 1318 Palestinians in 120 locations in the West Bank Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem was interviewed face-to-face with a sampling error of 3%. A representative sample of 1019 Israelis (519 Jews and 500 Arabs) was interviewed by telephone (sampling error of 3.9%). The interviews were conducted between July 5-11.

The following summary highlights the findings of the joint poll. For further details on the Palestinian survey, contact Dr. Khalil Shikaki at Tel: 02-2964933 or email pcpsr@pcpsr.org. On the Israeli survey, contact Dr. Yaacov Shamir at Tel: 03-6419429 or email jshamir@huji.ac.il.




Palestinian-Israeli Public Opinion Poll, July 2001

Summary of Results

I. A Pessimistic Outlook

The overall picture emerging from the surveys is pessimistic with regard to the prospects of renewing the peace process. This pessimism both feeds and is a result of the ongoing violent confrontations between Israel and the Palestinians. Consequently, the Palestinians are determined to continue their armed struggle while Israelis by and large support Sharon's current policy.

The pessimistic outlook is expressed mainly in both publics' assessment of what will happen in the long run. Forty one percent of the Israelis and 46 percent of the Palestinians believe that there is no chance to reach a peace agreement in the foreseeable future, compared to only 19 percent of the Israelis and 23 percent of the Palestinians who felt so immediately after the Camp David summit.

Similarly, 59 percent of the Palestinians and 46 percent of the Israelis characterize their relations five to ten years from now as conflictual and violent, compared to 31 percent of the Palestinians and 10 percent of the Israelis who felt so a year ago.

II. Reserved Support for the Cease-fire and the Mitchell Report

While both publics support their government's decision to accept the Mitchell report which calls for a cease-fire and a freeze on settlements (50% of Palestinians and 68% of the Israelis), and a return to the negotiation table (63% of Palestinians and 66% of Israelis), fifty percent of the Israelis oppose continuing the negotiations from where they stopped at Taba compared to only 33% of the Palestinians. Despite support for the cease-fire, Palestinians' support for armed attacks continues to be strong.

Ninety two percent support armed attacks against Israeli soldiers in the West Bank and the Gaza strip, and 58% support armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel.

Israelis in turn, by and large support Sharon's policy so far to continue with moderate military measures in order to maintain the option for future negotiations (44%). Thirty seven percent of the Israelis however want to react in full force in order to remove Arafat from power and only 16% support a unilateral cease-fire.

III. Impact of the Intifada on reconciliation sentiments

Despite the overall pessimistic outlook, there is a surprisingly small impact of the year long Intifada on Palestinians' and Israelis' sentiments towards reconciliation given a state of peace and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Under such conditions, 73% of the Palestinians and 73% of the Israelis would support a process of reconciliation despite the ongoing hostilities. While Palestinians would mainly support open borders and economic cooperation, Israelis see more favorably than Palestinians cultural changes in education and public discourse and social interaction.

More specifically:

  • Eighty four percent of the Palestinians and 53% of the Israelis would support open borders

  • 60% of the Palestinians and 70% of the Israelis would support joint economic institutions and ventures

  • 25% of the Palestinians and 45% of the Israelis would support joint political institutions designed eventually to lead to a confederate system

  • 31% of the Palestinians and 59% of the Israelis would support legal measures to prevent incitement against the other side

  • 7% of the Palestinians and 36% of the Israelis would support a school curriculum, which educates school children to give up irredentist aspirations.

  • On a personal level under conditions of peace, 63% of the Israeli Jews would invite a Palestinian colleague to their home, and 51% are willing to visit a Palestinian colleague in his home. Twenty seven percent of the Palestinians would invite, and 28% would visit an Israeli colleague.

Most of these figures almost didn't change for the Israelis from last year when measured before the Intifada and went down only slightly for some of the items for the Palestinians.

IV. Economic Impact of the Intifada

While the Intifada seems to have affected only marginally attitudes towards reconciliation it is perceived to have affected greatly both the national and personal economic situation in both societies. Eighty nine percent of the Israelis and 93% of the Palestinians think that the Intifada had an adverse effect on the nations' economic situation. Thirty eight percent of the Israelis and 80% of the Palestinians feel that the Intifada had a harmful impact on their personal economic situation.

A peace agreement however, is expected to greatly improve this situation. Eighty three percent of the Israelis and 81% of the Palestinians believe that a peace agreement will have a beneficial impact on the nation's economic situation. Similarly 50% of the Israelis and 74% of the Palestinians believe that their personal economic situation will improve as a result of a peace agreement.

While economic considerations may potentially reduce mutual violence, they are perceived less important than other national interests, which feed the conflict. The most important Palestinian national interest is considered to be the "end of occupation" by the Palestinians (50%), and "security" by the Israelis (48%). Improving the living conditions ranks only third in importance in both populations.

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