A new poll shows 75 percent of the PA believes in "martyrdom" to kill Jews.
With Yasser Arafat's popularity reaching its highest level in five years, three-quarters of Palestinians support the Haifa restaurant suicide bombing. Another two-thirds believe the Road Map is dead. Despite that, 85 percent of Palestinians support a mutual cessation of violence. Two-thirds support a return to "husna" (truce) and 59 percent support taking action against those who would violate a ceasefire.
The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah has conducted a public opinion poll in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the period between October 7-14, 2003. A representative sample of 1,318 adults was interviewed face to face in 120 locations, with 3% margin of error. For further details, contact PSR director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki or Ayoub Mustafa, at Tel 02-2964933 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Table of Contents:
(1) Arafat and Palestinian Domestic Conditions
(2) Peace and Security
(3) Perceptions of the U.S.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS:
The results of this poll point to a degree of contradictions in Palestinian public attitudes toward domestic political issues as well as issues of peace and security. The results show a large increase in Arafat’s popularity not seen during the last five years. They also show widespread support for his decision to declare a state of emergency and to appoint Ahmad Qurai’ as a prime minister. In addition, 60% support placing all Palestinian security services under the control of a national security council headed by Arafat. Nonetheless, the overwhelming majority of Palestinians believe the increase in support for Arafat is due to Sharon’s recent threats against him. Moreover, more than 90% still support internal and external calls for extensive political reforms in the PA and 82% still believe that corruption exists in the PA.
In the realm of peace and security, the findings show widespread support, reaching 75%, for the suicide attack at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa, where 20 Israelis were killed. More than two thirds believe that the Roadmap is dead and 78% believe that current Israeli measures, including the building of the separation wall, reduces that chances for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the future. Nonetheless, almost two thirds support a return to the Hunda, 85% support mutual cessation of violence, and, for the first time since the establishment of the PA, 59% support taking measures to prevent attacks on Israelis after reaching an agreement on mutual cessation of violence. Furthermore, about two thirds still support a solution based on two states: Israel and a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
(1) Arafat and Palestinian Domestic Conditions
- Arafat’s popularity increases from 35% last June to 50% in this poll. This is his highest level of support in five years.
- About 80% of Palestinians believe that Arafat has become stronger and more popular due to Israeli threat to expel or assassinate him.
- Two thirds support Arafat’s declaration of state of emergency while 26% oppose it
- 61% support the appointment of Ahmad Qurai (Abu Ala’) as prime minister and 27% oppose it, but only 48% are willing, and 37% unwilling, to give confidence to his government.
- 60% support placing all Palestinian security services under the command of a national security council headed by Arafat.
- 46% believe that Abu Ala’ and his government will be more capable than Abu Mazin and his government in dealing with Arafat and the presidency; only 12% believe in the opposite.
- But only 22% believe that Abu Ala’ and his government will be more capable than Abu Mazin and his government in reaching an agreement with Israel; 23% believe in the opposite.
- While 62% believe that Abu Ala’ and his government will be able to return to negotiations with Israel, only 33% believe they will be able to control the security situation and enforce a ceasefire. 44% believe they will be able to carry out political reforms.
- Fall of Abu Mazin and his government is the equal responsibility of Arafat and Israel (27% each). Only 17% put the blame on Abu Mazin himself.
- 32% are satisfied with the reform steps taken by Abu Mazin and 54% are not satisfied
- 90% support internal and external calls for extensive political reforms.
- 82% believe there is corruption in the PA and 71% believe that corruption will increase or remain the same in the future.
- Popularity of Fateh increases slightly from 26% last June to 28% in this poll. Hamas’ popularity remains almost unchanged (21%). Total support for Islamists reaches 29% compared to 31% last June.
- Marwan Barghouti remains the most popular Palestinian figure for the position of vice president 17%, followed by Abdul Aziz Rantisi (14% compared to 3% in an open-ended question last June), Sa’eb Erikat (9%), Ahmad Yasin and Haidar Abdul Shafi (7% each), Farouq Qaddoumi and Hanan Ashrawi (5% each), Ahmad Quarie’ (4%), Mohammad Dahlan (2%), and Mahmoud Abbas (1%).
(2) Peace and Security
- 75% support the suicide attack at Maxim Restaurant in Haifa leading to the death of 20 Israelis.
- 78% believe that current Israeli measures, including the building of the separation wall, reduce the chances for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the future.
- But 64% still support a two-state solution (Israel and a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip), while only 12% support a one-state solution (for Palestinians and Israelis). 23% want all Palestine back to the Palestinians.
- Percentage of those believing that armed confrontations will not stop and negotiations will not resume soon increases from 24% last June to 39% in this poll. 46% (compared to 56% last June) believe that the two sides will return to negotiations while some violence will continue.
- 68% believe that the roadmap is dead, but 28% believe that it can still be implemented
- 64% want a return to the Hudna that prevailed few weeks ago while 34% oppose it; but 85% (compared to 80% last June) support a mutual cessation of violence while only 14% oppose it.
- If an agreement is reached on a mutual cessation of violence, 59% (compared to 50% last June) would support taking measures by the PA to prevent attacks on Israelis.
- Despite the widespread support for the Hudna and the mutual cessation of violence, 58% would still support Hamas’ decision to oppose the ceasefire.
- 59% believe that current armed confrontations have helped the Palestinians achieve national rights in ways that negotiations could not. In June, 65% shared that belief.
(3) Perceptions of the US
- 96% believe that the US is not sincere when it says it works toward the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
- 92% believe that the US is not sincere when it says it wants political reforms and clean government in the PA.
- 78% believe the US is not serious in its declared opposition to the Israeli decision to expel or assassinate President Yasir Arafat.
- 97% believe the current US policy toward the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is biased in favor of Israel.
- But Palestinian evaluation of the current US conditions and policies varies on case by case basis. For example, positive evaluation reaches 85% when evaluating American medicine, science, and technology, and reaches 74% when evaluating the status of gender equality, and 63% when evaluating the status of US economic conditions. Positive evaluation drops to 53% with regards to arts and entertainment, 53% with regard to freedom of press and expression, and 44% to democracy and respect for human rights. Positive evaluation drops further when it comes to treatment of minorities (17%), respect for religious freedom (27%), or foreign policy (23%).
This PSR survey was conducted with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Ramallah.