Support for the ‘Intifada’ and the two-state solution
Division over security coordination
Popularity of Marwan Barghouthi grows while trust in PA and Palestinian figures retreats
Negativity towards ISIS and trust in the European Union
The latest public opinion poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre showed that a majority of (55.9%) of Palestinians support the continuation of the current uprising in contrast with 41% who oppose it. It is noteworthy that the majority of those in favor were from the Gaza Strip (75.8%) while the majority of those opposed were from the West Bank (51.6%). Furthermore, the majority of respondents (56.2%) supported the continuation of the current knife attacks; 41.1% opposed such a continuation. An increase in support for these knife attacks was also apparent in Gaza, where the majority of those polled, or 79.5%, said they supported them in contrast to the West Bank, where the majority, or 53.9.%, were opposed to them.
The two-state solution
The two-state solution is still the most acceptable solution among respondents, with a majority (69%) opposing any change in the official Palestinian Authority (PA) policy of demanding an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Only 24.8% supported a change in policy demanding equal rights for Arabs and Jews in one state, i.e., in all of historical Palestine from the river to the sea.
Security coordination: split opinions
Regarding security coordination between the PLO and Israel, there was a slight split among Palestinians: 48.2% said they favored ending it while 43.4% supported its continuation. However, the majority, 52.7%, said they would support the continuation of security coordination if halting it meant a suspension of civil coordination (permits medical referrals. etc.) in contrast with 38.6% who opposed this.
The poll showed a setback in the level of satisfaction over President Mahmoud Abbas’ (Abu Mazen) performance as president of the PA. 52.4% of respondents were satisfied last August compared to 45.3% in March 2016. Likewise there was a decrease in the percentage of those who believed Dr. Rami al-Hamdallah was doing a good job as Prime Minster (22.2%), down from 25.5% last March.
The poll also showed a setback in the public’s evaluation of the performance of some PA agencies. The percentage of those who said the performance of the education system was bad rose from 12.9% in October 2010 to 29.3%. Similarly, those who considered the performance of Palestinian Television to be bad rose from 17.3% in October 2010 to 29.5%.
Barghouthi moves up
The poll showed a rise in the popularity of Marwan Barghouthi, with the percentage of those saying they would vote for him if elections were held (and President Mahmoud Abbas did not stand) rose from 10.5% last August to 15.3%. Meanwhile President Abbas maintained his first place position in terms of the public’s trust (14.4%), followed by Isma’el Haniyeh (10.8%) and Marwan Barghouthi with 9.9%, a steady increase from 5.4% last March.
Furthermore, the poll showed a retreat in the level of trust in Hamas, down from 22% in March 2015 to 16.5%. In contrast, trust in Fatah remains somewhat stable, 35.5% compared to 34% last March.
Reconciliation followed by elections
The poll showed a rise in the percentage (54.1%) of those who prefer holding elections on condition that reconciliation is first completed, in contrast with 37.6% who prefer that elections are held even if reconciliation is not completed. This is in light of a rise in the level of pessimism towards reconciliation, whereby only 27.8% of those polled expected reconciliation to be reached by the end of the year. 61.3% expected the opposite.
ISIS: Negative views
The poll showed continued negative views towards ISIS, both in the West Bank and Gaza. The majority of those polled, 82.1% had a negative attitude to what ISIS forces are doing compared to 6.1% who expressed an opposite opinion. Similarly, the majority of those polled, (52.1%), believed ISIS harms the Palestinian cause while just 2.8% claimed ISIS serves it.
Political credibility: the EU
Political credibility in the EU is apparently higher than any other international party. A large percentage, 22.5%, preferred EU mediation should Palestinian-Israeli negotiations resume, followed by Egypt (19.2%), the Quartet Committee (16.3%) and the UN (17.9%). Only
4.9% preferred the United States as a mediator.