Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No 46

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By Center for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies/ An-Najah University

In view of the financial crisis that the Palestinian Authority (PA) suffers from due to the delay in transferring tax returns from Israel and the delay of funds from the Arab countries, strikes organized by trade unions influence everyday life in the West Bank.

Prisoners in Israeli jails continue their open hunger strikes which met with solidarity from different citizens in the Palestinian territories leading to some encounters between protesters and the Israeli Army. These realities, added to the deteriorating economic situation, the continuous aggression of settlers against Palestinian citizens, and the insistence on building settlements made some people expect the rise of a third intifada in the West Bank.

Some people expect that the visit of Barak Obama to the area at the beginning of his second term will give a push to the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

The state of division between the West Bank and Gaza persists since each side adheres to their stand and there seems to be no signs or mediation to end the division.

The Results

Following are the results of the Palestinian Public Opinion Poll no. 46 conducted by the Center for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies at An-Najah National University during the period from 1-3 March 2013. The University sponsors all polls conducted by its Center.

Palestinian Public Opinion Poll no. 46 undertakes Palestinian public opinion in the new political realities with reference to the national reconciliation attempts, the economic situation, the visit of President Obama to the Middle East in March and its possible consequences in addition to the possibility of conducting presidential, legislative and municipality elections and the political affiliations of Palestinian people.

The sample included 1366 persons whose age group is 18 and above and who have the right to vote. The enclosed questionnaire was distributed on 866 persons from the West Bank and 500 persons from the Gaza Strip. The sample was drawn randomly and the margin of error is about ±3%; still 1.3% of the members of the sample refused to answer the questionnaire.

The General Results:

• 55.7% of respondents said that they are optimistic towards implementing the Palestinian reconciliation agreement in the near future; 40.9% said they are pessimistic.

• 16.3% of respondents believed that Fateh is not genuinely concerned with signing a reconciliation agreement; 32.1% said that Hamas is not concerned.

• 16.5% of respondents believed that Fateh is the side which benefits most from signing the Palestinian reconciliation agreement while 31.3% believed that Hamas is not concerned with signing the agreement.

• 13% of respondents believed that the delay in the signing of the Palestinian national reconciliation agreement is because of pressures exerted by some Arab sides; 31% believed that it is because of some regional pressures, and 47.5% believed that it is because of the factional interests of Fateh and Hamas.

• 51.7% of respondents believed that the failure to achieve a national reconciliation is caused by some people who try to achieve personal interests and 42.1% believed that it is caused by people who try to achieve some interest for their party and movement.

• 55.9% of respondents said that if the national reconciliation is achieved it will influence them positively; 5.9% said it will influence them negatively

• 67.1% of respondents said that the most powerful method to end the Palestinian division comes from pressure exerted by the Palestinian public, 12.2% said that it comes from Arab political pressure, and 16.3% said that it comes from foreign political pressure.

• 70.3% of respondents believed that the surrounding Arab and international circumstances necessitate conducting a national reconciliation between Fateh and Hamas.

• 25.5% of respondents said that implementing the Palestinian reconciliation agreement will strengthen and speed up the peace process while 48.5% said that it will hinder and delay it.

• 12.7% of respondents believed that the United States is serious in its endeavors to achieve peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

• 18.7% of respondents expected that Obama's visit to the region in March will help in pushing the peace process forward

• 23.6% of respondents believed that the USA will exert pressure on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides to achieve peace during Obama's second term.

• 88.8% of respondents said that the US policy towards the Palestinian question is biased towards Israel; 6.2% said that the US policy is neutral.

• 14.1% of respondents expected that after the last Knesset elections in Israel and the winning of Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu coalition, the prospects of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis will advance; 78.3% expected the opposite.

• 22.8% of respondents supported the return to peace negotiations at the present time without any preconditions; 73.1% rejected.

• 63.9% of respondents supported the return to peace negotiations at the present time if building in settlements is stopped; 32.7% rejected.

• 46.2% of respondents supported the two-state solution provided that there will be a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel; 49.9% rejected.

• 29.7% of respondents said that they are optimistic towards the success of the peace process between the PA and Israel; 66.1% said that they are pessimistic

• 29.7% of respondents supported dissolving the PA; 65.4% rejected.

• 56% of respondents expected the fall of the PA in case enough funds become unavailable.

• According to the points of view of respondents, it is possible to reduce the deficit that the Palestinian National Authority suffers from by:

- 37.5% Giving early retirement to some employees.

- 10% Increasing taxes and imposing new taxes.

- 56.5% Going back to peace negotiations so that the PA can get aids from foreign countries.

- 88.7% Asking the Arab countries to pay their dues to the PA.

• According to respondents the minimum wage in Palestine must be 2412 NIS. Responses ranged between 1000 NIS and 3000 NIS.

• According to the point of view of respondents, the financial crisis that the PA suffers from is due to

- 77.3% Israel's delay in transferring the tax return to the PA.

- 75.3% Arab countries' failure to fulfill their financial commitments to the PA.

- 69.1% Foreign countries' failure to fulfill their financial commitments to the PA.

- 78.8% PA's poor management of public funds.

- 64.6% The huge number of employees at the PA.

- 58.8% Tax avoidance by some institutions, companies and individuals.

• 60.7% of respondents expected the break out of a third uprising (intifada)

• 33.8% of respondents supported the rise of an armed uprising (intifada) in the West Bank; 62% rejected.

• 59.4% of respondents supported the rise of a nonviolent unarmed popular uprising (intifada); 36.4% rejected.

• From the respondents' point of view, among the reasons that may lead to the rise of a third intifada are:

- 67.3% The financial crisis that the PA goes through.

- 84.9% The issue of the prisoners.

- 59.7% Failure to achieve national reconciliation.

- 53.2 The desire of some factions and parties to have a third intifada.

- 40.3% The revolutions of the Arab Spring.

- 77.5 The recurring aggressions of settlers against Palestinian people.

- 82.4% Aggressions against the holy places.

• 62.4% of respondents supported the Egyptian move to close all tunnels between Egypt and Gaza

• 76.5% of respondents supported opening a free zone between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

• 75.9% of respondents said that they are aware of the fact that the Central Elections Commission has updated the electoral records in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

• 80.7% of respondents assessed the work of the Central Elections Commission as "Good and above"

• 81.3% of respondents supported conducting the coming presidential elections after ending the division; 12% supported conducting them despite division.

• 80.5% of respondents supported conducting the coming legislative elections after ending the division; 12.7% supported conducting them despite division.

• 57% of respondents expected that if elections are conducted in the present time in the Palestinian Territories, they will be fair.

• 80.6% of respondents said that they will participate in the coming presidential elections. From among those who said they will participate, 35.6% said that they will give their votes to Fateh's candidate; 12.1% said they will give their votes to Hamas' candidate.

• 80.5% of respondents said that they will participate in the coming legislative elections. From among those who said they will participate, 36.3% said that they will give their votes to Fateh's candidates; 12.6% said they will give their votes to Hamas' candidates.

• If PLC elections are to be conducted, 41.4% of respondents expected the winning of Fateh movement; 17.7% expected the winning of Hamas.

• In case PLC elections will be conducted, 30.4% of respondents prefer conducting elections on the basis of electoral lists; 29.1% prefer conducting them on the basis of persons.

• 81.9% of respondents said that they will participate in the coming municipality and local council elections. From among those who said they will participate, 30.5% said that they will give their votes to Fateh's candidates, 11.2% said they will give their votes to Hamas' candidates and 11.9% said they will give their votes to the representative of their family or clan.

• 28.1% of respondents preferred conducting local council and municipality elections on the basis of electoral lists; 36.4% preferred conducting them on the basis of persons.

• 30.4% of respondents said that the current political, security and economic circumstances compel them to desire emigrating.

• 44.5% of respondents expressed fear for their lives under the present circumstances.

• 64.1% of respondents said that they are pessimistic of the general Palestinian situation at this stage.

• 77.7% of respondents said that they neither feel safe for themselves nor for their families and properties under the current circumstances.

• 45 As for political affiliation, respondents gave the following results:

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