Joint Palestinian-Israeli Public Opinion Poll 


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, in cooperation with the KonradAdenauer Foundation, conducted a joint survey of Palestinian and Israeli public opinion between December 4 and 9, 2003. 

The poll was designed to examine in detail Palestinian and Israeli attitudes toward the Geneva Document, and toward reconciliation, as well as both publics' expectations of success of the new Abu Ala government. This is the seventh joint poll in an ongoing research project on the opinions of the two publics. The first poll was conducted in July 2000 in the wake of the Camp David summit. 

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 1319 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 December 4-9. The Israeli data are based on telephone interviews with a representative sample of the general Israeli public with 504 Israelis (sampling error of 4.5%). The interviews were conducted in Hebrew, Arabic and Russian between December 7-9. 

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 On the Israeli survey, contact Dr. Yaacov Shamir at tel. 03-6419429 or email


Summary of Results 

(1) The Geneva Document

  • The great majority of both Israelis (95%) and Palestinians (73%) have been exposed to the Geneva initiative to varying degrees.  However only 34% of the Israeli public and 19% of the Palestinian public (25% who heard of the document) support the initiative. 43% of all Israelis and 44% of all Palestinians (61% of those who heard of it) oppose it.
  • Both support and opposition for the initiative increased significantly after informing respondents in detail on the main components of the document. Among Palestinians the number of those in favor of the document increased by 20 percentage points from 19% to 39%. The number of those opposing it went up 14 percentage points from 44% to 58%. Among Israelis, the number of those in favor of the document increased by 13 percentage points from 34% to 47%. The number of those opposing it increased 6 percentage points from 43% to 49%.  All the figures below referring to the Geneva document have been obtained after informing our respondents in detail about the various components of the Geneva document.
  • The territorial component focusing on Israeli withdrawal from all of the West Bank and Gaza with mutual 1:1 territorial exchange of no more than 3% of the area, receives Palestinian majority support with 57% supporting it and 41% opposing it. Among Israelis 47% support the withdrawal from almost all of the West Bank and Gaza with 50% opposing it.
  • The only other component receiving Palestinian majority support is the security arrangements involving the deployment of a multinational force with 58% supporting it and 40% opposing. 46% of the Israeli publicsupport this component with 52% opposing it.
  • Israelis too grant majority support only to two components of the document. The first component receiving majority support among Israelis is the end of conflict component with 66% supporting it and 33% in opposition. Among Palestinians 42% support the end of conflict component and 55% oppose it.
  • The only other component receiving Israeli majority support is the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state with 61% of Israelis supporting it and 38% opposing it. Among Palestinians 36% support this component and 63% oppose it.
  • The Jerusalem component of the document received the support of 46% of the Palestinians with 52% opposing it, and the support of 41% of the Israelis with 57% against it.
  • The refugees component receives only 25% support among Palestinians with 72% opposing it. No difference between refugees and non-refugees exists when it comes to the Geneva refugee solution. Both segments of the Palestinian society oppose it equally. Among Israelis 35% support the refugees component with 61% opposing it.
  • Finally the security arrangements limiting the Palestinian state sovereignty are supported by only 23% of the Palestinians with 76% opposing it compared to 50% support among Israelis with 46% opposing it.
  • In sum, the components raising most objections for the Israeli public are the Jerusalem and refugees articles, while those supported most are the end of conflict and a demilitarized Palestinian state. The Palestinian public dislikes most the components that deal with the refugees and the sovereignty limitations meant to provide security to Israel. The Palestinians like most the territorial component focusing on the withdrawal of the Israeli army and territorial exchange and the deployment of a multinational force to provide them with security. None of the document's major components affords majority support of both publics jointly.


(2) Violence and control of violence

  • 58% of the Palestinians believe that the Roadmap is dead, compared to 68% last October. Only one third believes that there is still a chance to implement it.
  • Percentage of support for attacks on Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip remains very high at 87%. But support for attacks on Israeli civilians drops to the lowest level since the start of the intifada (48%).
  • Despite the high level of support for violence, a large majority of the Palestinian public, 83%, supports mutual cessation of violence while 15% oppose it.
  • If an agreement on mutual cessation of violence were reached with Israel, 53% OF the Palestinians would support a crackdown on those who would continue the violence.
  • 80% of the Palestinians are worried that such a crackdown would lead to internal Palestinian strife; on the other hand, 73% believe that continuation of the violence would impede return to negotiations.
  • 64% of the Palestinians believe that armed confrontations have helped achieve Palestinian rights in ways that negotiations could not.


(3) Reconciliation 

  • After reaching a peace agreement, 77% of the Palestinians and 80% of the Israelis would support reconciliation between the two peoples. But support in specific reconciliation steps varies. For example, 87% of the Palestinians and 54% of the Israelis would support open borders between the two states, 69% of the Palestinians and 73% of the Israelis would support joint economic ventures and institutions. 42% Palestinians and 65% of Israelis would support measures against incitement against the other side, 29% Palestinians and 43% Israelis would support joint political institutions such as a parliament, and 10% of the Palestinians and 47% of the Israelis would support adopting a school curriculum that teaches against irredentist aspirations.


(4) Unilateral steps and Prospects for Renewed Negotiations 

  • The Israeli public is split half in its trust in Prime Minister Sharon's intentions. 45% of the Israeli public believe and 45% do not believe that Sharon will carry out the unilateral steps he alludes to.
  • 46% of the Israeli public support and 47% oppose Minister Ehud Ulmert's plan for unilateral withdrawal to a line determined by the Israeli government, in order to preserve the Jewish nature of Israel.
  • 61% of the Israelis support and 34% oppose dismantling of most of the settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
  • 29% of the Israeli public supports immediate resumption of the negotiations with the Palestinians. Additional 29% support it if the Palestinian government makes serious effort to stop violence.
  • 42% of the Israeli public believe, and 52% do not believe that there exist serious partners for peace talks among the Palestinian leadership.
  • 32% of the Israelis believe that Abu Ala may have a better chance than Abu Mazin to begin serious talks with Israel, 48% believe he has about the same chance and 10% think he has a worse chance.
  • 67% of the Palestinians however have confidence in Abu Ala's government to resume negotiations with Israel but only 34% have confidence in its ability to control the security situation and enforce a cease fire.
  • Palestinian Confidence in the ability of Abu Ala’s government to carry out political reforms does not exceed 39%, fighting corruption 37%, improve economic conditions 45%.
  • As to an overall vote of confidence, 37% of the Palestinians are willing to give such a vote to Abu Ala’s government, 42% are not, and 21% undecided


 (5) Domestic Palestinian Issues: Popularity of Arafat and the political factions 

  • Support for internal and external calls for fundamental political reforms reaches 89% with 9% opposing them.
  • Belief in the existence of corruption in PA institutions reaches 81% with less than 10% believing it does not exist. Two thirds of those who believe in the existence of corruption believe that it will increase or remain the same in the future while 21% believe that it will decrease.
  • Arafat’s popularity decreases from 50% last October to 38% in this poll.
  • Fateh’s popularity stands at 25%, Hamas 20%, Islamic Jihad 5%, independent Islamists 6% (with the Islamists reaching a total of 31%). With national opposition groups (PFLP and DFLP) receiving the support of 4%, total support for nationalist and Islamist opposition stands today at 35%. The unaffiliated remains the largest group however with 40%. Last October, Fateh received the support of 28% and Hamas 21%.