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last updated April 11, 2013
published April 10, 2013
Poll No. 79, March 2013 - Reconciliation, Obama Visit and Security Coordination
Read more:  security, Olso accords, peace process, US policy, US foreign policy, Barack Obama, reconciliation, Fateh-Hamas conflict, Hamas-Fateh conflict
Summary: Public Opinion Poll Number 79 – March – 2013

Conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center
  • Overwhelming majority calls for reconciliation even if met with U.S.-Israeli sanctions
  • In Gaza, people blame Hamas and in the West Bank they blame Fatah for the disrupted reconciliation
  • Majority of respondents embraces the idea of reforming the PLO
  • Setback in percentage of support for the Oslo Accords; Setback in Hamas’ popularity;
  • Drop in support for military action
National Reconciliation
The public opinion poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC) showed that the overwhelming majority of the Palestinians (90.3%) believe that Hamas and Fatah should pursue national reconciliation even if this leads to the United States and Israel imposing sanctions on the Palestinian people. A clear majority of 87.5% of the respondents also embraces the idea of reforming the PLO with the aim to include all relevant Palestinian political parties. Meanwhile, a majority of 59.5% says both Fatah and Hamas are acting in their own interests instead of the national interest by not working towards achieving reconciliation.

As for the party more responsible for the persisting division and the failure to reach reconciliation, 28.6% of respondents put the responsibility on Hamas while 19.8% put it on Fatah and 22.3% blame both sides. It is worth mentioning that a higher percentage of people in the Gaza Strip blame Hamas for the continuation of the division than those in the West Bank (32.8% as opposed to 26.2% respectively)while a higher percentage of those in the West Bank blame Fatah for the continuation of the division more than Hamas (20.4% as opposed to 18.6%). With regard to the overall support, the popularity of Hamas dropped sharply from 28.2% in December 2012 shortly after the Gaza war to 20.6% in this poll. This result is closer to the support the movement usually received in past polls. In April 2008, for example support was at 19.3%.

Broad support for non-violent resistance
83.8% of respondents support non-violent means of resistance and 78.9% think such efforts should be intensified. While most Palestinians (36.8%) still believe that peaceful negotiations are the best method to achieve an end to the occupation and a Palestinian State, non-violent resistance amounting to a peaceful popular intifada now ranks second with 30.4% support (compared to 21.9% in December 2012), while only 25.4% favoring armed resistance. A clear majority of 60.2% considers military operations to harm the Palestinian national interests. The percentage of those who support military operations against Israeli targets dropped from 50.9% in December 2012 to 31.1% in this poll. Support for firing locally-made rockets from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli regions has dropped sharply: While it was at 74.0% in December 2012 shortly after the Gaza war, it now stands at 38.4%.

20 years since signing the Oslo Accords
The poll showed that 20 years after the signing of the Oslo Accords, Palestinian public opinion is divided over this agreement, whereby 44.6% of respondents say it would have been better for Palestinian national interests if the accords were never signed. 44.4% of respondents said signing the accords was better for the Palestinian people. Moreover, the poll showed a setback in the level of support from the people towards the Oslo Accords; the percentage of those who said they supported them dropped from 68.1% in December, 1997 to 43.4% in the current poll.

Only one quarter (24.6%) of the Palestinian public opinion believes the Oslo Accords served the Palestinian national interests while one third (33.6%) thinks they have harmed them and another third (34.9%) considers them to have made no difference. Public opinion is especially critical of the security coordination between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel. Only a third (33.8%) believes it to benefit the Palestinians while a majority of 55.4% wants to see it terminated even if this would lead to an increase of incursions by the Israeli army into Area A of the West Bank.

Visit of US President Obama and resumption of peace negotiations
As for the visit of US President Barack Obama, the majority of those polled (59.3%) sees the visit as more beneficial to Israel as opposed to only 2.1% who say it was more beneficial to the Palestinians; 25.2% consider the visit to have had no impact. A two-thirds majority thinks the Palestinian leadership should only return to negotiations if Israel agrees to a halt of settlement expansion. Only 5.2% believe negotiations should be resumed without preconditions and only 27.6% of the respondents view direct negotiations under the sponsorship of the U.S. as the most helpful approach to achieve an independent Palestinian State whereas 49.5% favor an international peace conference.

Financial crisis of the PNA
The majority of respondents (48.9%) blames Israel for the PNA’s financial crisis as opposed to 14.9% who hold the PNA responsible; 34.2% hold both the PNA and Israel responsible for the crisis. In regards to the recent strikes by PNA employees, teachers and health workers, the majority of those polled (59.5%) show their support for these strikes, saying they were right as opposed to 37.1% who view the strikes as harmful and exaggerated. Despite the financial crisis, an overwhelming majority of 71.7% thinks the PNA must be maintained instead of dissolving it.
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al-Jazeera Int: Dining with Terrorists, Fighting Occupation Pt. 2.

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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Addresses a Joint Session of the US Congress, May 24, 2011
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Foreign Aid and Development in Palestine - Phase I Report
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"After Annapolis," Bitterlemons Dec. 3, 2007
"Frequently asked questions on the anti terrorism fence" Israel ministry of foreign affairs, April 2009
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