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last updated April 17, 2011 11:04 AM (EST+7)
published April 17, 2011 11:21 AM (EST+7)
Poll No. 73, April 2011 - Governance and reconciliation
Read more:  elections, governance, internet, Facebook, reconciliation, Hamas-Fateh conflict, Fateh-Hamas conflict, Salam Fayyad, Arab revolts, polls, public opinion
Summary: The public opinion poll conducted by Jerusalem Media & Communication Center (JMCC) showed an increase in the ratio of Palestinians who oppose military operations as an appropriate response under the current political conditions from 38.1% in January 2009 to 51.8% this April. Accordingly, the ratio of Palestinians who support military operations decreased from 53.3% in January 2009 to 37.1% in April 2011.

With regards to the rockets fired from Gaza Strip towards Israel, the ratio of Palestinians who believe they are useful in achieving the national goals went down from 50.8% in January 2009 to 25.4% this month while the ratio of Palestinians who believe that these rockets harm the national interests went up from 20.8% in January 2009 to 38.6% this month.

In a similar trend, the ratio of Palestinians who support bombing operations against Israeli civilian targets decreased from 55.4% in January 2009 to 37.3% this April. Some discrepancy was seen in the public opinion between the West Bank and Gaza Strip with regards to these issues as a ratio of 45.5% in Gaza supported military operations against Israeli targets compared with 32.0% in the West Bank. A ratio of 57.3% of the respondents in Gaza Strip supported bombing operations against Israeli civilian targets compared with 25.3% in the West Bank.

With regards to the internal political split in the Palestinian arena, a majority of Palestinians (33.6%) said that the best solution is to hold early elections while a ratio of 31.2% said that the solution lies in continuing dialogue between the factions; a ratio of 18.1% believes that the solution to this problem is to cancel the government of Fayyad and return to a national unity government.

On the government structure that is preferred by the majority of Palestinians, a ratio of 45.8% of Palestinians said that it should be a government of independent figures while a ratio of 28.6% preferred a government with a Fatah majority and a ratio of 12.8% preferred a government with a Hamas majority. When asked about the initiative of Abu Mazen to visit Gaza in order to form a national unity government, a majority of the respondents (65.0%) said it is a step in the right direction compared with a ratio of 28.4% who said that the step won’t make any difference on the issue of the reconciliation file.

Political forces and parties

The current poll did not show any major changes on the popularity of political forces, parties and figures. A ratio of 34.0% said they trusted Fatah Movement, compared with a ratio of 15.0% for Hamas, 3.0% for PFLP and 1.7% who trust Islamic Jihad. At the level of Palestinian figures, President Mahmoud Abbas maintained the highest confidence ratio at 17.9% compared with 11.4% for Ismail Hanieh, 6.8% for Marwan al-Barghouthi and 4.3% for Salam Fayyad.

Elections

With regards to local council elections in the West Bank, a majority (63.4%) of the respondents said they will participate in them, while a ratio of 55.6% said the local councils elections serve the public interest compared with 8.2% who said that these elections harm the public interest. A ratio of 31.4% said these elections won’t make any difference.

On the criteria to select the candidates in the local council elections, a majority (30.8%) of the respondents said they will choose their candidates on the basis of competence and professionalism compared with a ratio of 26.3% who said they will choose their candidates based on political affiliation. A ratio of 47.3% said they expect the elections to take place on the set date of July 9th compared with a ratio of 41.3% who expect postponing the elections to another date.  

The poll; however, showed a clear split in expectations with regards to the general elections. A ratio of 46.7% said they expect them sometime this year compared with a ratio of 45.5% who said that they expect the opposite. With regards to the Palestinian National Council (PNC – legislative body of the PLO) elections, a ratio of 49.5% said they do not expect them to be held this year compared with 38.5% who expect the opposite.

Use of Internet and Facebook

With regards to the use of the Internet, the poll shows a notable increase in ratio of those who use the Internet as a source of news from a ratio of 25.1% in October 2008 to 66.3% in April 2011, with no differences in usage between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. On the use of Facebook, a ratio of 49.7% of the respondents who use the Internet said they have a facebook account with clear differences between the West Bank and Gaza Strip; the ratio in the West Bank reached 55.0% compared with 40.7% in Gaza Strip.

The government performance

Attitudes of the general public vis-à-vis the performance of the Palestinian government headed by Dr. Salam Fayyad varied. For example, a ratio of 52.2% of the respondents said its performance in the field of education is either very good or good compared with 17.3% who said the opposite. In the field of health, a ratio of 47.6% said the performance of the government is either very good or good compared with 18.2% who said it was either very bad or bad. On security and public order, a ratio of 40.4% said the performance is either very good or good compared with 26.4% who said the opposite. With regards to financial performance, a ratio of 40% said the performance is either very good or good compared with 29.2% who said the opposite.

On the impact of the current revolutions in the Arab world on the Palestinian cause, a ratio of 41.1% said these revolutions will have a positive impact compared with a ratio of 22.2% who said they will have a negative impact while a ratio of 35.2% of the respondents said they will not make any difference. 
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Multimedia
Carterzzz*zs Elders discuss Palestinian reconciliation
Scenes from Bilinzzz*zs 5th anniversary protest
Al-Jazeera Int: Town sees rare Palestinian unity
Prof. Rashid Khalidi on Fateh-Hamas reconciliation


Documents
Annual Corruption Report - 2008
Homestretch to Freedom. The Second Year of the 13th Government Program Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State
Hamas Rule in Gaza: Three Years On


Publications
Poll No. 53, December 18-20, 2004 - On Palestinian Attitudes Towards The Palestinian Political Issues
Poll No. 51, June 2004 - On Palestinian Attitudes Towards The Palestinian Political Issues and the Intifada
The Palestinian Education System


Background
Information technology (Palestinian)
Public opinion (Palestinian)
Cairo talks


Resources
Near East Consulting Polls, June 2007, Do you support launching rockets into Israel by Palestinian factions?
Cairo's plan B, Gamal A. G. Soltan, Bitterlemons, January 14, 2010 Edition 2 Volume 8
Homestretch to Freedom. The Second Year of the 13th Government Program Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State. August 2010


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