- Skepticism over local council elections; majority to participate
- Rejection of the Jordanian option and disregard for the French initiative
- Marwan Barghouthi is second choice, Fatah at the forefront
- Setback in performance of “undemocratic” PA
Local council elections: skepticism in spite of desire to hold them
An opinion poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre (JMCC) in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung showed that the majority of those polled (55.9%) most of whom are from the Gaza Strip, do not expect that local council elections, recently ratified by the Cabinet, would be held, as opposed to 35.8% who expected the elections to be held on time.
Moreover, the majority (61.3%) of those polled said they would participate in elections if they are held, while 34.0% said they did not want to participate. It is noteworthy that a majority of 65.2% oppose holding local council elections in the West Bank without the Gaza Strip as opposed to 27.6% who said the contrary.
The Jordanian option will not help ending the occupation
The poll, which was conducted on July 8-12, 2016, on a random sample of 1,200 people, showed that the majority (73.5%) of respondents opposed a solution that includes an end to the occupation on condition that the West Bank becomes part of Jordan, as opposed to 21.6% who supported this option. Moreover, the majority of those polled, 79.9% ruled out the possibility that Israel would relinquish control over the West Bank, even if to Jordan, as opposed to 11.3% who said the contrary.
The French initiative: unknown and makes no difference either way
It is worth noting that the majority of respondents or 68.3% said they were not informed at all or very little informed about the French initiative, while only 25.8% said they were highly or moderately informed about it. In a question asked only to respondents who said they were informed about the French peace initiative as to whether it would harm or serve the Palestinian cause, a large percentage, or 48.9%, said it would not make any difference. Contrarily, 28.2% said the initiative was a good development that serves the Palestinian cause, and 18.3% said it was a bad development that would harm the Palestinian cause.
Egypt, Europe, the United States, and then Russia
In regards to a question about the marginalization of the Palestinian cause as a result of the current events in the region, a large percentage of those polled, or 15.3%, said Egypt was the most concerned with the Palestinian cause. This was followed by a close 15.1% of respondents who said the European Union was the most concerned; 13.7% said the United Nations, 11.3% said Saudi Arabia; 8.6% answered the United States, then Russia 3.8%.
Military operations are harmful
The poll showed a retreat in the percentage of those who support military operations as an appropriate response in the current situation, dropping from 50.9% in December 2012, to 42.7% in October 2014 and then to 37.3% this July. Contrarily, the percentage of those who oppose military operations and find them to be harmful to Palestinian interests rose from 42.0% in December 2012, to 50.4% in October 2014, reaching 52.9% this July.
The PA is undemocratic and freedom of expression is limited
The majority of respondents, 53.2% said they believed the Palestinian Authority (PA) was undemocratic, while 35.5% believed it was democratic. Meanwhile, the majority of those polled, or 50.9% said freedom of expression was permissible to a small extent in PA-controlled territories while 23.4% said was not permissible at all. Only 21.1% said they believed freedom of expression was largely permissible in PA-controlled territories.
The Rafah Crossing: Israel, Egypt or Hamas?
The majority of those polled, 32.8% put responsibility for the closure of the Rafah Crossing on Israel. In second place, the public was nearly split on who was more responsible, Hamas or Egypt. 26.1% said Egypt while 25.6% held Hamas responsible.
Factions and politicians: Barghouthi after the President
Fatah remains the most popular among Palestinian factions, at 33.1%, followed by Hamas, at 14.3%; the PFLP came in at 3.4%, while 35.9% of respondents said they do not trust any faction.
Furthermore, President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) remains the most popular figure among political leaders, at 14.9%, followed by Marwan Barghouthi at 9.3%, Ismail Haniyeh at 8.8% and Mohammed Dahlan at 4.7%. Meanwhile, a large percentage, or 35.9% said they do not trust anyone.
However, if presidential elections were held today and President Abbas (Abu Mazen) did not run, a large percentage, or 14.8%, said they would vote for Marwan Barghouthi, who enjoys equal popularity among respondents in the West Bank and Gaza. He was followed by Ismail Haniyeh, at 7.8%, who had a higher percentage of supporters in the Gaza Strip, Mohammed Dahlan followed with a close 7.4%, also with a higher percentage of supporters in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian public opinion was split over the performance of President Abbas in doing his job. 50.6%, mostly from Gaza, said they were dissatisfied with the way in which he deals with his job as President of the PNA, as opposed to 44.6%, mostly from the West Bank, who said they were satisfied with his performance.
A similar split in opinion was over whether the President was in control of the internal situation. 50.5% said he was not control at all or was somewhat in control of the situation, most of whom were from the Gaza Strip. Contrarily, 44.9% said he is in full or is somewhat in control of the Palestinian internal situation, most of whom were from the West Bank.
It should be noted that the poll showed a setback in the public’s evaluation of the PA’s performance in general. The percentage of those who rate the PA’s performance as good dropped from 57.4% in August of last year to 50.8% in June of this year. Contrarily, the percentage of those who assessed the PA’s performance as bad rose from 41.4% last August to 46.2% this July.
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