PSR - Survey Research Unit: Joint Press Release
PRESS RELEASE

Date: 30 June 2003

 

PRESS RELEASE

Joint Palestinian-Israeli Public Opinion Poll

 

MAJORITY SUPPORT AMONG PALESTINIANS AND ISRAELIS FOR ROADMAP AND FOR A MUTUAL RECOGNITION OF ISRAEL AS THE STATE OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND PALESTINE AS THE STATE OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE BUT EACH PUBLIC MISPERCEIVES THE POSITION OF THE OTHER

 

Table of Contents:

1)      The Peace Process and the Roadmap

2)      Domestic Israeli Issues: The Future of Settlement

3)      Domestic Palestinian Issues

 

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, have conducted a joint survey of Palestinian and Israeli public opinion.

 

This joint poll is the sixth 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 attitudes toward the roadmap on its various stages, toward a mutual recognition of the national identity of Israel and a future Palestine and toward reconciliation. In addition the Israeli survey also examined attitudes on the future of the settlements among the general public and among settlers in the West Bank and Gaza.

 

The poll was planned and supervised by Dr. Yaacov Shamir, professor of Communication and Journalism at the Hebrew University and Dr. Khalil Shikaki, professor of Political Science and director of PSR. The two surveys included both identical questions as well as specific questions for each public. 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%. The interviews were conducted between June 19-22. The Israeli data are based on telephone interviews with two representative samples: a sample of the general Israeli public with 502 respondents, and a sample of 500 settlers in the West bank and Gaza, (sampling error of 4.5% in each). The interviews were conducted in Hebrew, Arabic and Russian between June 22 26.

 

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 kshikaki@pcpsr.org. On the Israeli survey, contact Dr. Yaacov Shamir at Tel. 03-6419429 or email jshamir@mscc.huji.ac.il.

 

Summary of Results

 

(1) The Peace Process and the Roadmap

 

A majority support for a mutual recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people and Palestine as the state of the Palestinian people.

 

  • For the first time the sensitive and disputed issue of national identity has been addressed in a joint Israeli Palestinian survey. Both Israelis and Palestinians were asked whether they agree or disagree that after the establishments of an independent Palestinian state and the settlement of all issues in dispute, there will be a mutual recognition of Israel as a state of the Jewish people and Palestine as the state of the Palestinian People. 52% of the Palestinians agreed and 46% disagreed to this proposal. Among Israelis, 65% agreed and 33% disagreed to it. Nevertheless both publics are not aware of this mutual level of support which suggests that it is still not in the open and not fully normative. Only 40% of the Palestinians believe, and 53% do not believe, that a majority of Palestinians support such recognition, and only 37% believe that a majority of Israelis supports that recognition. Israelis too find it hard to believe that a majority of Palestinians support such recognition. Only 32% believe and 56% do not believe in a Palestinian majority support on this issue, but 58% believe and 31% do not believe that a majority of Israelis support it.
  • In the same vein a majority of 80% among Israelis and 71% among Palestinians supports reconciliation between the two peoples after reaching a peace agreement and the establishment of a Palestinian state. Here too support in specific reconciliation steps varies. For example, 64% percent of the Israelis and 41% of Palestinians support taking legal measures against incitement against the other side while 53% of the Israelis but only 10% of the Palestinians support adopting a school curriculum that teaches against irredentist aspirations.

 

A majority support for the Roadmap in general, varied support in its various elements

  • Support for the Roadmap reaches 56% among Palestinians and 61% among Israelis, and is stable since last April when it stood at 55% and 61% respectively.
  • But support for the different steps required from Palestinians and Israel varies. 70% of the Palestinians support consolidation of the security services into three organizations; 56% for ending incitement against Israel, 41% for restoring pre-intifada Arab links with Israel, 36% for arresting individuals conducting violent attacks on Israelis, 30% for the establishment of a state with provisional borders before settling the refugees and Jerusalem issues, and 25% for cutting off funding for groups engaged in terror and violence against Israelis.

    As to steps required from Israel, 77% of the Israelis support ending incitements against Palestinians, 67% support ceasing acts of deportations demolitions of homes and destruction of Palestinian infrastructure, 65% support IDF withdrawal to pre intifada posts and the deployment of Palestinian security forces in these areas, 54% support reopening of closed Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem conditional upon their refraining from political activity, 61% support dismantling illegal outposts, 44% support the establishment of a Palestinian state with provisional borders before settling the refugee and Jerusalem issues, 60% support the negotiation for a permanent status solution under the auspices on an international conference.
  • A majority in both publics believe that its leader will stand by his commitments to the roadmap (57% of the Palestinians and 59% of the Israelis), but they suspect the other leader's intentions. Only 15% of the Palestinians believe Sharon will stand by Israel's commitments and only 30% of Israelis think that Abu Mazin will stand by Palestinian commitments. Palestinians also suspect both leaders ability to overcome political opposition to the roadmap. Only 34% think Abu Mazin will overcome Hamas opposition and only 30% believe that Sharon will overcome settlers' opposition. Israelis however have more confidence in Sharon's ability to overcome settlers' opposition (63%) but question Abu Mazin's ability to overcome opposition from Hamas (only 21% believe he will).
  • 36% of the Palestinians believe that Arafat is more able than Abu Mazin to reach a political agreement with Israel while 21% believe that Abu Mazin is more able, and 37% believe the two have the same ability. In contrary 60% of the Israelis believe that Abu Mazin is more able than Arafat to reach a political agreement with Israel, only 12% believe Arafat is more able and 25% believe that both have the same chance.
  • 48% of the Palestinians and 79% of the Israelis believe that the US president is determined to move the peace process forward and to implement the roadmap, but only 40% of the Palestinians and 40% of the Israelis believe that the Roadmap will lead to a political settlement with Israel
  • 43% of the Israelis and 48% of the Palestinians believe that democratic reforms facilitate the peace process, 23% and 21% respectively believe they inhibit it, 29% and 23% respectively believe they do not facilitate or inhibit it.

 

A majority support for cease-fire (Hudna) and for ending the armed intifada

  • A Palestinian majority of 73% supports a "Hudna" with Israel for one year during which no arms would be used against the Israelis while Israel would stop using arms against the Palestinians. But a higher percentage (80%) supports a mutual cessation of violence (that is not limited in time). Last April, only 71% supported a mutual cessation of violence.
  • 58% of the Palestinians support Hamas' refusal to accept a ceasefire (asked before Hamas announced that it accepts the ceasefire), but 67% are concerned that such a position by Hamas and other opposition groups could lead to internal Palestinian conflict
  • If a mutual cessation of violence is arrived at, 50% of the Palestinians support and 47% oppose taking measures by the Palestinian Authority to stop armed attacks against Israelis, and 76% believe that continued armed attacks in such a case would impede return to the peace process
  • A majority of 52% of the Palestinians and 88% of the Israelis believes that now that both sides have accepted the Roadmap, armed intifada and all military activities from both sides must stop. But only 18% of the Palestinians and 6% of the Israelis expect that armed confrontations will completely stop and a return to negotiations will take place. 56% of the Palestinians and 58% of the Israelis believe that some armed confrontations will continue while negotiations resume.
  • 34% of the Israelis and 65% of the Palestinians believe that armed confrontations have so far helped achieve Palestinian national rights in ways that negotiations could not

 

(2) Domestic Israeli Issues: The Future of Settlement

 

  • 37% of the settlers chose to live in the settlements mainly because of a religious or national mission to inhabit the land, 20% say they live their because of the importance of the territories to the security of Israel and 40% live their mainly for quality of life reasons.
  • A majority of the settlers recognize the authority of the democratic institutions to decide on the evacuation of the settlements. 58% recognize the government's authority, 54% the Knesset's authority, 60% the Knesset but by Jewish majority, and 68% a referendum. Only 38% recognize a rabbinical authority to take such a decision while 60% do not recognize it.
  • In case a decision is made to evacuate authorized settlements, only 24% say they will obey it, 60% say they will resist it by legal means and 13% say they will resist it by all means. 54% believe that in such a struggle it is justified to bring down the government (74% among those who will resist by all means), 15% say that it is justified to endanger oneself and one's family (46% among those who will resist by all means), and 9% believe it is justified to endanger other Jews in such a struggle (35% among those who will resist by all means).
  • If the establishment of a Palestinian state in accord with a peace agreement will necessitate the evacuation of settlements, 57% of the settlers believe that the right option for the government is to pay compensations and allow them to choose a new community within the green line. 3% prefer that the government settle them in other places in Israel, 19% prefer the government to settle them in other settlements in the territories and 9% prefer that the government allows them to continue to live in their present community under Palestinian rule.

 

(3) Domestic Palestinian Issues:

 

The popularity of Abu Mazin and his government drops

  • Support for the appointment of Abu Mazin as a prime minister drops from 61% in April to 52% in this poll
  • Trust in Abu Mazin's government reaches 41% with 52% refusing to grant it confidence
  • Drop in the level of confidence in the ability of Abu Mazin's government to carry out political reform from 43% last April to 38% in this poll, to fight corruption from 44% to 41%, to control the security situation from 39% to 35%. But confidence in its ability to return to negotiations with Israel remains the same (69%). Confidence in the government's ability to improve economic conditions increases from 50% to 56% during the same period.

 

Evaluation of performance, Arafat's popularity, support for a vice president, and political affiliation

  • Highest level of positive evaluation of performance goes to the opposition groups (68%) followed by president Yasir Arafat (66%), while only 37% positively evaluate Abu Mazin's performance. Positive evaluation of the PLC stands at 29% and the new government of Abu Mazin at 27%.
  • A large majority of 84% believes that corruption exists in PA institutions and two-thirds of those believe that corruption will increase or remain the same in the future
  • Arafat's popularity, as a president for the PA, remains unchanged at 35% while support for Ahmad Yasin (for the same office) increases from 15% last April to 18% in this poll

PSR Survey was conducted with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Ramallah. The Truman Institute Survey was conducted with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Jerusalem.

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