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last updated April 28, 2014
published April 27, 2014
Poll No. 81, April 2014 - Prolonging Negotiations, Reconciliation, Dahlan and Barghouti
Read more:  peace process, negotiations, Muhammed Dahlan, Marwan Barghouti, national unity, Hamas-Fateh conflict, Fateh-Hamas conflict, Palestinian Authority, leadership, Rami Hamdallah, governance, public opinion, poll
Summary: A public opinion poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre (JMCC) in mid-April 2014 showed a significant discrepancy in public opinion on the subject of extending the negotiations. The majority of Palestinians, 52.4%, said they objected to any extension after the nine-month period as opposed to 39.6% who said they supported an extension. When the respondents were asked the same question but this time linking an extension with the release of the fourth group of pre-Oslo prisoners, the majority, 62%, said they supported an extension if the prisoners were released, while 30.1% said they opposed it. When respondents were asked about the best options currently being discussed regarding the negotiations, 34.7% said they supported extending negotiations and going to the UN at the same time, as opposed to 33.4% who said they supported a halt to the negotiations and going to the UN; 19.9% said they supported a continuation of negotiations without going to the UN.

National Unity
Respondents were split over the possibility that the dialogue between Fateh and Hamas could result in the formation of a national unity government. While 47.3% said they expected this to happen, 46.4% said the opposite.

Marwan Barghouthi
In regards to the popularity of factions and leaders, the poll showed that if presidential elections were held and President Abbas was not a candidate, 20.4% of respondents would favor Marwan Barghouthi as a candidate for the post while 10.3% said they preferred Ismail Haniyeh; the majority of those polled (47.2%) said they did not know or did not have an answer. As for which Palestinian figure is most trusted by the people, 25.2% said they trusted President Abbas, 13.5% said they trusted Haniyeh and 10% said they trusted Marwan Barghouthi; the plurality of those polled (28.4%) said they did not trust anyone. In regards to the political faction they trust most, 41.7% said they trusted Fatah while 16.8% said they trusted Hamas; the majority of those polled (28.5%) said they did not trust any faction.

It is clear that respondents sympathized more with President Mahmoud Abbas in his dispute with Mohammed Dahlan. Respondents were asked the question who they felt more sympathetic towards. 37.1% said they were more sympathetic towards President Abbas as opposed to only 5.4% who said they sympathized more with Dahlan. However, 46.1% said they did not sympathize with either.

Solutions to the conflict
In regards to solutions to the Palestinian cause in general and to a number of sensitive subjects in particular such as Jerusalem and refugees, the majority of respondents to this poll, 48.7% still said they supported the two-state solution. 52.4% supported the two-state solution in the March 2013 poll and 49.5% in the May 2012 poll. The solution of a binational state was the second choice of the public, with 18.8% in support of it in this poll, while 23.4% supported it in the March 2013 poll and 25.9% supported it in the May 2012 poll.

As for the best solution to the issue of Jerusalem, the majority of respondents, 39.8%, said it was to have East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state with West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This is opposed to 22.6% who favored the option of a unified Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, while 13.9% said they would prefer it to be an international city. As for the refugee issue, the majority, 66.8% favored their return to their original homes, while 9.5% said they supported their return to an independent Palestinian state. With regards to the best method of achieving the goals of the Palestinian people in ending the occupation and establishing their state, 39.1% supported negotiations as the best method. The public was equally split on the option of resistance, whereby 26.3% said they favored peaceful resistance and 26% said they favored armed resistance.

The poll also showed a consistently high level of pessimism among the public regarding the possibility of achieving a peaceful settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict. 63.1% said in this poll that they were pessimistic while 70.2% said they were pessimistic in the November 2012 poll and 64.6% in the April 2011 poll.

Performance of the PA
The poll showed a drop in the level of satisfaction towards the PA’s performance, decreasing from 67.6% in November 2011 to 61.6% in November 2013, and to 56% in this poll. As for the performance of the current government headed by Rami al-Hamdallah in comparison to previous governments, the plurality, 38.8%, said it had not changed. As to whether Rami al-Hamdallah’s current government has assisted in pushing the current PA reform process forward, 42.3% said it did not have any influence on the current reform process, 27.9% said it assisted in pushing the reform process forward and 12% said it pushed the reform process backward.

Performance of the US
In regards to the performance of US Secretary of State John Kerry and his role in sponsoring the negotiations, 73.8% said his performance was bad while 15.2% said it was good. As for the performance of the US Administration towards the Middle East, 51.7% of respondents said there was no change in its dealings with the Middle East’s problems, while 33.6% said there was regression in its dealings, and 7.0% said it had improved.
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Carterzzz*zs Elders discuss Palestinian reconciliation
Aljazeera Inside Story: Could indirect talks boost Mideast peace process
Al-Jazeera Int: PLO agrees to peace talks
al-Jazeera Int: Riz Khan with Gideon Levy

Palestine Divided
Palestine: Moving Forward - Priority Interventions for 2010
Carnegie Institute: Are Palestinians Building A State?

Newsletter of Good Governance Initiative (English)
No Exit: Israel‘s Curfew Policy in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
Palestine‘s Interim Agreement with Democracy

Occupied Palestinian territory (OPT)
Oslo accords
Camp David II

"Public Opinion and the Two-state Solution", Khalil Marrar and Sherry Leplogle, SPSA, Jan 2008
"After Annapolis," Bitterlemons Dec. 3, 2007
"Netanyahu: economics not politics is the key to peace," Haaretz

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