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Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Palestinian/Israeli Poll results: "The Potential for a Nonviolent Intifada"

Palestinian/Israeli Poll results: "The Potential for a Nonviolent Intifada"

[IMRA: The following material provided to IMRA by the JMCC - Jerusalem
Media and Communications Center- is the overview as well as questions of a
pubic opinion poll geared, among other things, to justify internationally
financed activities against Israel. It should be noted to the credit of the
pollsters that they do present considerable evidence that the Palestinian
public is not interested in exclusively embracing the path of nonviolence.

It should also be taken into account that the design of the questions fails
to address a serious difference regarding the perception of what constitutes
"nonviolence" or "protest". For example, a Western reader might interpret
the idea of a "nonviolent demonstration" as a group of Palestinians standing
with arms linked and waiving banners while in Palestinian eyes that
"nonviolent" group could also hurl rocks (and perhaps even firebombs) at
Israeli targets.]

Overview

To determine the attitudes of the Palestinian and Israeli Jewish publics on
the potential for nonviolent methods in the Intifada, Search for Common
Ground, an American and Belgian NGO, commissioned the Program on
International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) of the University of Maryland to
conduct a study that included focus groups and polls with randomly selected
samples. A Palestinian polling organization, the Jerusalem Media and
Communications Center, carried out the poll of 600 Palestinians through
face-to-face interviews from August 12-19. An Israeli polling organization,
the B.L. and Lucille Cohen Institute for Public Opinion Research of Tel Aviv
University, carried out the poll of 504 Israeli Jews by telephone interviews
from August 12-14.
The margin of error is plus or minus 4% for the Palestinian poll and 4.5%
for the Israeli poll.

Palestinian Findings

"Thinking about the current methods of the Intifada, do you think there is
a need to try some new approaches, or don't you think so?" Yes 62% No 29%

The following is a list of different methods for resisting the Israeli
occupation. Please rate them on a 0-to-10 scale, with 0 meaning "you
strongly feel it is not a good idea"; 10 meaning "you strongly feel it is a
good idea"; and 5 meaning "you are neutral."

Mass boycotts of products made in settlements 9.1 average 92% between 6 and
10

Armed attacks on Israeli soldiers 9.0 average 91% between 6 and 10

Mass boycotts of Israeli cigarettes, soft drinks, etc. 9.0 average 91%
between 6 and 10

Large groups blocking construction in settlements 8.5 average 83% between 6
and 10

Palestinian workers go on limited strikes 8.3 average 82% between 6 and 10

Mass protest demonstrations 8.0 average 81% between 6 and 10

Large groups blocking demolition of homes 7.5 average 73% between 6 and 10

Suicide bombing of Israeli civilians 7.5 average 73% between 6 and 10

Are you willing to participate or participate and encourage others to:

Mass boycotts of Israeli cigarettes, soft drinks, etc.
Participate 49% Participate and encourage others 20% - Total 69%

Mass boycotts of products made in settlements :
Participate 48% Participate and encourage others 17% - Total 65%

Large groups blocking demolition of homes
Participate 30% Participate and encourage others 14% - Total 44%

Large groups blocking construction in settlements
Participate 26% Participate and encourage others 10% - Total 36%

Suppose that a Palestinian is killed while engaging in nonviolent action,
such as blocking an Israeli bulldozer trying to demolish a Palestinian home.
Would you regard this person as a martyr, or not? Yes 88%

Would he be more or less or the same of a martyr as a suicide bomber?
More 7% Same 47% Less 21%

Do you favor or oppose the idea of all Palestinians refusing to work in the
construction of the settlements or for businesses located in settlements?
Yes 77%

What if those who lost their jobs as a results were compensated for the
period of their unemployments out of an international fund set up for this
purpose? Yes 89%

Would you approve of a large-scale Palestinian movement committed to
nonviolent action against Israeli occupation using such methods as
demonstrations, boycotts, and civil disobedience?
Yes strongly 36% Yes somewhat 44% Would not approve 13%

Would you be willing to participate in a large-scale Palestinian movement
committed to nonviolent action against Israeli occupation using such methods
as demonstrations, boycotts, and civil disobedience? Yes 56%

Do you agree with the following statements:

Palestinians have tried mass nonviolent action in the past and it did not
succeed in changing Israel's behavior - Agree 68%

Israelis are so stubborn that mass nonviolent action will have no impact on
their behavior - Agree 62%

It would take too long for mass nonviolent action to produce any real
change - Agree 61%
===
Do you think that the following arguments in favor of nonviolent activity
are convincing?

Mass nonviolent action can help direct international attention to unjust
Israeli behavior and repression
Yes 41% No 52%

When Palestinians use nonviolent forms of resistance this improves the image
of Palestinians in the eyes of the world
Yes 38% No 57%

Mass nonviolent action puts pressure on Israel while also undermining its
excuse that it cannot negotiate as long as there is violence.
Yes 36% No 59%
===
Do you consider the following arguments for or against operations that
target Israeli civilians convincing?

Since Palestinian civilians suffer at the hands of Israelis, then Israeli
civilians should suffer at the hands of Palestinians Retribution - Yes 85%

Using violence against Israeli civilians increases the likelihood that
Israel will make compromises Yes 61% No 34%

When Palestinians use violence against civilians, this undermines
international support for the Palestinian cause - Yes 36% No 59%

Violence that hurts women and children is inconsistent with the true moral
character of the Palestinian people." Yes 56% No 39%

====

Do you think that when Palestinians use armed force against Israelis, this
makes the Israeli people more or less willing to make compromises with the
Palestinians?
More 57% Less 20% No difference 16%

Do you think that when Israelis use armed force against Palestinians, this
makes the Palestinian people more or less willing to make compromises with
the Israelis?
More 12% Less 66% No difference 16%

If Israel would take conciliatory steps, like stopping the military
incursions and ending the checkpoints, should the Palestinians respond by
suspending violence for a limited period, or not?"
Yes 42% No 47%

Suppose that, in the future, Israeli and Palestinian leaders agree that
Israel will withdraw to the 1967 borders and recognize a Palestinian state,
and that the Palestinian state will then renounce the use of violence
against Israel and imprison Palestinians who do attempt such violence. If
they made such an agreement, would you approve or disapprove of Palestinian
leaders?"
Disapprove 50% Approve 44%
===
As you may know, over the years various Palestinians have made statements
saying that Palestinians should use violence to seek the complete
destruction of the state of Israel,"

-Do you think that such statements have helped or hurt the Palestinian cause
in general?" Helped 35% Hurt 36% No difference 20%

-Do you think that such statements have made Israel more or less willing to
negotiate?" More willing 34% Less willing 35% No difference 20%

#####
Israeli Findings

Please choose from 3 statements:

01% The Palestinians have a legitimate right to pursue a state by any means
necessary

78% The Palestinians have a legitimate right to seek a Palestinian state,
provided that they do so using nonviolent means

19% No matter whether they use violent or nonviolent methods, the
Palestinians do not have a legitimate right to seek a Palestinian state.

Please choose from 3 statements about Palestinian resistance to expansion of
the settlements:

03% The Palestinians have a legitimate right to oppose expansion by any
means necessary

56% The Palestinians have a legitimate right to oppose the expansion of the
settlements, provided that they do so by nonviolent methods.

39% The Palestinians had no such right, no matter what means they employed
to oppose expansion.
===
Israel should agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state within the
framework of a permanent peace agreement with the Palestinians
Yes 61% No 35%

If there were a Palestinian movement committed to nonviolent action against
Israeli occupation using such methods as demonstrations, boycotts, and
large-scale defiance would you approve of such a movement?
Yes 57% No 38%

As a general rule the Israeli government should not try to stop Palestinians
from carrying out large nonviolent demonstrations? Yes 63% No 35%

How likely do you think it is that a significant Palestinian movement
committed to nonviolent action will emerge?
Not very likely 42% Not at all likely 44%

===
Do you favor phasing out the checkpoints between Palestinian towns inside
the Palestinian territories?
Yes 25% No 70%

What if the Palestinians were clearly shifting away from violent methods and
were instead using nonviolent methods of protest such as demonstrations,
boycotts and mass blockages would you favor phasing out the checkpoints
between Palestinian towns inside the Palestinian territories?
Yes 61% No 33%.

I would like you to think about how the Israeli government should respond if
there was no Palestinian violence for a given period. You should assume,
however, that during this period that there may be other nonviolent forms of
protest such as demonstrations or boycotts.

Suppose there was no violence by Palestinians for three months. Would you
then favor or oppose showing more flexibility in negotiations on the borders
of the Palestinian state?
Yes 52% No 44%

If no violence for half a year?
Yes 60% No 38%

Should the government crack down harshly in the event of:
Organized work stoppages and strikes of Palestinian workers - Yes 26%
Large groups blocking construction activity in settlements - Yes 54%
Large groups blocking access to the settlements - Yes 65%
===
If there were strikes of Palestinian workers in the settlements and
international organizations were providing money to the striking workers
should the Israeli government try to prevent those international
organizations from providing money?
Yes 51% No 43%

Should the government try to stop boycotts of Israeli-made products?
Yes 60%

Are the following arguments convincing?

The Israeli government should try to stop Palestinians from organizing a
boycott of Israeli-made products because if it grew, it could hurt our
economy - Yes 55%

The Israeli government should try to stop Palestinians from organizing a
boycott of Israeli-made products because it is a challenge to Israeli
authority - Yes 39%

The Israeli government should not try to stop Palestinians from organizing a
boycott of Israeli-made products because organizing boycotts can substitute
for violent methods of protest, it is a constructive development for Israeli
interests and should be tolerated.
Yes - 39%

The Israeli government should not try to stop Palestinians from organizing a
boycott of Israeli-made products because Israel is a democracy, therefore it
would be contrary to its principles to prevent Palestinians from peacefully
expressing their views by doing things like organizing boycotts
Yes - 41%.

The Israeli government should try to stop Palestinians from carrying out a
boycott by preventing them from purchasing those products from another
country
No - 63%

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