A public opinion poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre (JMCC) in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung showed the Palestinians’ pessimism towards the United States’ role in the peace process six months after US President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The majority of respondents (79.3%) said Trump was not serious in his call for a resumption of the peace process while 11.9% said he was serious. Meanwhile, 42.9% said there was a decline in the Unites States’ dealings with the Middle East peace process while 42.8% said there had been no change compared to previous US Administrations.
Moreover, the majority of respondents, 54%, advised the Palestinian leadership to agree to a resumption of negotiations if Donald Trump calls for them, on the condition that settlement construction is halted, as opposed to 30.6% who said the Palestinian leadership should not participate.
Negotiations instead of military operations
The largest percentage of Palestinians, 54.2%, still supports the resumption of negotiations with Israel in principle, compared to 41.9%, who oppose resumption. Still, 35.6% of respondents said the peace process was dead and could not be revived, while 39.6% said the peace process was facing difficult conditions with an uncertain future. 19.7% said the peace process was still alive and could be resumed.
Meanwhile, the percentage of those who support the resumption of military operations against Israeli targets as an appropriate response under the current political conditions declined to 28.6% in this poll in comparison to 42.7% in October 2014 and 50.9% in December 2012.
Furthermore, the majority of respondents, 54.7%, continued to support the Arab Peace Initiative compared to 36.1% who opposed it and 9.2% who had no position on the issue.
On the occasion of 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, 40.6% of respondents said Britain bears responsibility for the current Palestinian situation to a large extent, while19.6% said it bore responsibility to some extent and 30.4% who said it did not bear any responsibility at all.
Opposition to dissolving the Palestinian National Authority (PNA)
Despite a decline in the percentage of those who evaluate the performance of the PNA as good or very good, the majority of respondents oppose its dissolution. The percentage of those who evaluated the performance of the PNA as good dropped from 61.6% in November 2013 to 54.1% in September 2017. Meanwhile, the percentage of those who evaluated the performance of the PNA as being bad increased to 45.9% after it was 33.6% in November 2013. Nonetheless, the majority of respondents opposes the dissolution of the PNA and sees a necessity to maintain it, reaching 65.5% in this poll.
Trust in Factions
The poll showed an unprecedented increase in the percentage of those who do not trust any political faction, reaching 42.8%. It is noteworthy that the percentage is far higher in the West Bank (49.9%) compared to the Gaza Strip (30.9%).
The total percentage of trust in Fatah fell to 25% in this poll after being 33.1% in July, 2016. It should be noted that the percentage of trust in Fatah in the Gaza Strip, 34.7%, is higher than it is in the West Bank, at 19.2%. As for trust in Hamas, the percentage remained constant in this poll at 14.5% compared to 14.3% in July 2016. Yet, trust in Hamas in Gaza with 22.9% was considerably higher than it was in the West Bank with 9.5%. However, when asked who was responsible for the aggravation of the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip, the majority of respondents in the Gaza Strip, 51.6%, said it was the Hamas government in Gaza, while 16.9% of Gazans said it was Israel. Yet in the West Bank, a majority of 51.1 % said Israel was responsible with only 17.8% saying it was Hamas.
Increase in Marwan Barghouthi’s popularity
If general elections were held and current President Mahmoud Abbas would not run for office again the largest percentage of Palestinians, 26.1%, said they would vote for Marwan Barghouthi – 25.8% in the west bank and 26.7 % in Gaza- while 12.1% said they would vote for Ismail Haniyeh -9.3% in the West Bank and 16.7% in Gaza . Another 7.7 % said they would vote for Mohamad Dahlan -1.5% in the West Bank and 18% in Gaza-.
However, if presidential elections were held in which only Marwan Barghouthi and Ismail Haniyeh ran for office, about half of the respondents, 50.2%, said they would vote for Marwan Barghouthi while 19.5% would vote for Haniyeh. Moreover, if only Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh ran, 34.8% said they would vote for Abbas, while 27.0% would vote for Haniyeh.
Gender Equality in Palestine
The larger percentage of those polled, 47.5%, said that equality between women and men has improved over the past 10 years while 32.4% said it stayed the same and 16.8% said it had declined.
Police treatment towards women
Regarding battered women and those who report to the police, the majority, 59%, said they thought the police dealt with such cases appropriately, while 27% said they did not. Nonetheless, respondents were split regarding fair treatment of women. Around half of the respondents, 49.2%, said they thought the police adopted fair policies towards women while 47.1% said they did not. In general, almost two-thirds of the respondents, 63.5%, said they had confidence in the Palestinian police to a great or somewhat high extent, while 32% said they had confidence only to a small extent.
Ways of reducing domestic violence
Palestinians were divided over the best ways of reducing levels of domestic violence. 29.9% of respondents said the best solution was passing stricter laws, while 26.2% said it was by increasing the enforcement of current laws and 39.3% said the best way was to improve education and awareness with regards to women’s rights.
Majority considers religion an important part of their lives
A majority of Palestinians, 97.4%, still considers religion an important part of their lives, while 2.6% said it was not. Furthermore, 90.1% said they always performed prayers during the month of Ramadan, while 5.1% said they prayed only on Fridays. Moreover, the majority, 94.2%, said they fasted all or most of the month of Ramadan, while 4.8% said they did not fast at all or only for a few days. As for the Umra (pilgrimage), 28.1% said they had performed it, while 71.9% said they had not performed it or not performed it yet.