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Monday, September 29, 2014
PSR Poll No. 53: Gaza Strip opposition to disarming armed groups drops to 42%

29 September 2014
PRESS RELEASE
Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (53)

One month after the end of the Gaza War: a drop is found in the level of
satisfaction with war achievements, in support for Hamas and Ismail Haniyeh,
and in support for an armed intifada; but the public still favors Hamas’
“way” over negotiations, and Hamas and Haniyeh are still more popular than
Fatah and Mahmud Abbas

25-27 September 2014

These are the results of the latest poll conducted by the Palestinian Center
for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
between 25-27 September 2014. The period before the poll witnessed
successful implementation of the cease fire reached a month earlier after
more than 50 days of armed confrontations in the Gaza Strip. But the
reconciliation government failed to operate in the Gaza Strip during the
period of war or ceasefire, and Fatah and Hamas exchanged accusations over
who was responsible for that failure. The period of the fieldwork witnessed
improvement in the Fatah-Hamas relations due to progress in reconciliation
follow up talks in Cairo. It also witnessed Palestinian renewed activities
at the UN with President Abbas delivering a speech at the UN General
Assembly. This press release covers public perception of the war outcome,
domestic Palestinian developments, elections, internal balance of power, and
others. Total size of the sample is 1200 adults interviewed face to face in
120 randomly selected locations. Margin of error is 3%.

For further details, contact PSR director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki, or Walid
Ladadweh at tel 02-296 4933 or email pcpsr@pcpsr.org.

Main Findings:

This post-war poll was conducted one month after the end of the war in the
Gaza Strip. This report highlights important changes in public perception
compared to the findings we obtained in our previous poll which was
conducted a month ago, immediately after the war end. Findings show a drop
in satisfaction with the achievements of the war, probably due to the
continued siege and blockade of the Gaza Strip. A drop was also found in
the percentage of those who believed Hamas won the war, in the percentage of
opposition to dissolving armed groups in the Gaza Strip, and in the
popularity of Hamas and Ismail Haniyeh. Findings also show a rise in the
popularity of Abbas and Fatah. Support for a third armed intifada went down
in this poll as support for negotiations increased and a majority supported
the two-state solution.

Despite the drop in support for the Islamists, Hamas and Haniyeh remain more
popular than Fatah and Abbas. Moreover, a majority still supports launching
rockets against Israel if the siege and the blockade are not ended.
Furthermore, satisfaction with Abbas remains low. Finally, two thirds of the
public oppose merging Hamas’ al Qassam Brigades into the Palestinian
National Security Forces.

Findings also show significant drop in the level of optimism regarding the
chances for a successful implementation of the reconciliation agreement and
indicate continued drop in the level of satisfaction with the performance of
the reconciliation government. Indeed, a majority supports replacing the
reconciliation government with a national unity government made up of
factional leaders and politicians. Despite all that, a majority wants the
reconciliation government to control crossings with Egypt and Israel and
wants it to have control over Gaza’s public sector including those in the
security services.

Finally, findings show that a majority of the public has not heard about
Abbas’ plan to seek a deadline for ending Israeli occupation and
establishing a Palestinian state. A majority of those who have heard about
it do support it despite the fact that a majority expects the plan to fail.
(1) Gaza War:

Belief that Hamas has won the Gaza War drops from 79% a month ago to 69% in
this poll; 22% believe the two sides were losers. In the Gaza Strip, only
58% say Hamas came out a winner.

Percentage of satisfaction with war achievements compared to the human and
material losses sustained by the Gaza Strip drops from 59% a month ago to
49% in this poll. 50% are currently dissatisfied with the achievements. In
the Gaza Strip, 59% are dissatisfied with war achievements.

Despite that, an overwhelming majority of 80% supports the launching of
rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israel if the siege and blockade are not
ended. Support for launching rockets drops in the Gaza Strip to 72%.

A majority of 57% believes that launching rockets from populated areas in
the Gaza Strip is justified and 39% say it is unjustified. Among Gazans,
belief that it is justified to launch rockets from populated areas drops to
48% while increasing in the West Bank to 62%.

Opposition to disarming armed groups in the Gaza Strip drops from 57% a
month ago to 50% in this poll. In the Gaza Strip opposition to disarming
these groups drops to 42%.

About two thirds (65%) believe that Iran, Turkey and Qatar combined have
given the Gaza Strip the ability to remain steadfast against Israeli attacks
and to be able to continue to launch rockets during the war; only 7% believe
Egypt too has contributed to that.

Moreover, only 21% describe Egypt’s role in the ceasefire negotiations as
positive while a majority of 57% describe it as negative.

When asked about the party that should finance the Gaza reconstruction with
five options provided to respondents, 30% said it should be Israel, 24% said
donor countries, 23% said Arab countries, 10% said Palestinian taxpayers,
and 10% said Hamas. When only two options were provided, 50% said
Palestinian taxpayers should finance the reconstruction and 19% selected
Hamas.

(2) Presidential and Legislative Elections:

If new presidential elections are held today and only two were nominated,
Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Abbas, the former would win a majority of 55%
(compared to 61% a month ago) and the latter 38% (compared to 32% a month
ago). Votes for Abbas and Haniyeh are close in the Gaza Strip with the
former receiving 47% and the latter 50%. In the West Bank, Abbas receives
33% and Haniyeh 57%.

Level of satisfaction with the performance of Abbas stays as it was a month
ago at 39%. Satisfaction with Abbas stood at 50% before the Gaza war.

If presidential elections were between Marwan Barghouti and Haniyeh, the
former would receive 48% and the latter would receive 46% of the
participants’ votes. A month ago, Barghouti received 45% and Haniyeh 49%.
Before the Gaza War Barghouti received the support of 58% and Haniyeh 38%.

If presidential elections were between three: Mahmud Abbas, Marwan Barghouti
and Ismail Haniyeh, Abbas would receive 22%, Barghouti 30%, and Haniyeh 43%.

- If new legislative elections were held today with the
participation of all factions, 72% say they would participate in such
elections. Of those who would participate, 39% say they would vote for Hamas
and 36% say they would vote for Fatah, 5% would vote for all other third
parties combined, and 21% are undecided. A month ago, vote for Hamas stood
at 46% and Fatah at 31%. Before the Gaza war vote for Hamas stood at 32% and
Fatah 40%. Vote for Hamas in the Gaza Strip stands in this poll at 40% and
for Fatah at 39%. In the West Bank vote for Hamas stands at 38% and Fatah at
33%. These findings indicate a significant drop in Hamas’ popularity in the
West Bank compared to the findings a month ago when it stood at 47%. They
also indicate a significant rise in Fatah’s popularity in the West Bank from
27% to 33% during the same period.

- A majority of 69% wants elections to take place within few to six
months from today, 11% want them to take place after a year or more, and 15%
do not want elections.

(3) Domestic Conditions:

Positive evaluation of conditions in the Gaza Strip continues to drop to 9%
in this poll compared to 20% a month ago and 24% three months ago. Positive
evaluation of conditions in the West Bank continues to drop as well standing
at 24% in this poll compared to 32% a month ago and 33% three months ago.

Perception of safety and security in the Gaza Strip increase from 22% a
month ago to 31% in this poll. Three months ago, before the Gaza war, the
percentage of safety and security in the Gaza Strip stood at 64%. In the
West Bank perception of safety and security remains unchanged compared to a
month ago, standing today at 47%; three months ago, it stood at 51%.

Findings show that the percentage of Gazans who say they seek immigration to
other countries stands at 44%; in the West Bank, the percentage stands at
22%.

Viewership of Hamas TV, al Aqsa, drops from 37% a month ago to 24% in this
poll. Al Jazeera viewership rises from 21% to 24%, Palestine TV from 16% to
20%, Maan-Mix from 11% to 12%, and al Arabiyya from 5% to 7%.
Perception of corruption in PA institutions stands at 78% compared to 81%
three months ago.

23% say there is press freedom in the West Bank and an identical percentage
say there is press freedom in the Gaza Strip.

29% of the Palestinian public say people in the West Bank can criticize the
authority in the West Bank without fear. By contrast, a larger percentage of
35% say people in the Gaza Strip can criticize the authorities in Gaza
without fear.

(4) The reconciliation government and its role in Gaza after the war:

Optimism about the success of reconciliation and the end of the split drops
from 69% a month ago to 53% in this poll. Pessimism rises from 28% to 43%.
Optimism remains high in the Gaza Strip (64%) compared to the West Bank
(48%).
Satisfaction with the performance of the reconciliation government drops
from 46% a month ago to 36% in this poll. Dissatisfaction rises from 46% to
54%. It is worth mentioning that three months ago, right after its
establishment, 61% had confidence in the reconciliation government.

Indeed, 57% prefer to get rid of the reconciliation government and form a
unity government in which leaders and politicians from all major factions
would participate; 35% oppose such a step and prefer to keep the
reconciliation government.

A majority of 50% (64% in the Gaza Strip and 43% in the West bank) wants to
place the reconciliation government in charge of the Rafah crossing, but 37%
prefer to keep it under Hamas’ control. The same applies to the crossings
with Israel with 52% (63% in the Baza Strip and 47% in the West Bank)
wishing to place them under the control of the reconciliation government.

46% want the reconciliation government to be in charge of the reconstruction
of the Gaza Strip and 34% want it placed in the hands of Hamas.

Satisfaction with the implementation of the reconciliation agreement drops
from 61% three months ago to 48% in this poll.

45% believe that Hamas has established a shadow government in the Gaza Strip
and 40% reject this claim. But the belief that Hamas was responsible for
hindering the functioning of the reconciliation government does not exceed
25% (37% in the Gaza Strip and 18% in the West Bank) while 36% believe that
the PA and president Abbas were to blame for that and 18% blame the head of
the reconciliation government.

In light of the dissatisfaction with the performance of the reconciliation
government, 52% believe the PA has become a burden on the Palestinian people
and only 41% believe it is an accomplishment. Three months ago, right after
the formation of the reconciliation government, 50% said the PA was an
accomplishment and 45% said it was a burden.

80% want the reconciliation government to pay the salaries of the public
sector in the Gaza Strip and 17% oppose that.

68% want the reconciliation government to be in charge of supervising the
work of the employees of Gaza security sector who worked in the past under
Hamas government; 29% disagree with that, wanting instead to keep these
employees under Hamas’ control.

Nonetheless, 68% agree with Hamas’ demand that security and police should
remain under its control during the next 6 months, up until the elections;
28% disagree with that.

(5) Peace Process:

Only 40% of the public has heard and 58% have not heard about President
Abbas’ plan to set a deadline for ending occupation and building a state.
Among those who have heard about the plan 72% support it and 25% oppose it.
Only 42% of those who have heard about the plan believe the chances for its
success were medium or high and 58% believe its chances for success were low
or non-existent.

A majority of 53% supports the two-state solution and 46% oppose it. A month
ago, 49% supported it and 50% opposed it.

The public is divided over the most effective means of ending occupation and
building a Palestinian state: 44% believe that armed confrontation is the
most effective means; 29% believe negotiation is the best means, and 23%
believe that popular non-violent resistance is the most effective route to
statehood. A month ago, 53% said armed confrontations were the most
effective means while 22% selected negotiations, and 20% selected popular
non-violent resistance.
60% say that the two-state solution is no longer practical due to Israeli
settlement expansion and 36% think it is still practical. Similarly, 72%
believe that the chances for establishing a Palestinian state next to the
state of Israel in the next five years are slim or non-existent. Despite
that, only 27% support and 71% oppose the abandonment of the two-state
solution and the adoption of the one-state solution.

A majority of 59% support and 35% oppose committing the reconciliation
government to accept existing agreements with Israel. A month ago, 54%
supported this position and 40% opposed it.

The public is divided equally over the Arab Peace Initiative with 47%
supporting it and an identical number opposed to it. But a majority of 56%
is opposed to recognition of Israel as a Jewish state while 41% support this
recognition.

In the absence of viable negotiations, 83% support joining more
international organizations; 79% support joining the International Criminal
Court; and 63% favor resort to popular non-violent resistance. The public is
divided equally over a return to armed intifada; a month ago 60% supported
this alternative, but three months ago support did not exceed 41%. Findings
show also that a majority of 53% is opposed to the dissolution of the PA
while 44% support it.
57% believe that massive popular demonstrations could contribute to ending
the Israeli occupation but 42% disagree with that.

By contrast, a larger majority of 81% favors Hamas way of resisting
occupation. Support for Hamas’ way stood at 88% one month ago.

Furthermore, 63% favor the transfer of Hamas’ armed approach to the West
Bank and 34% oppose that. One month ago, support for this transfer stood at
72%.

In this regard, only 30% support the merging of Hamas’ al Qassam Brigades
into the PA’s National Security Forces as a way of meeting the demand for
disarming Hamas and 67% oppose that.

(6) Most vital Palestinian goals and the main problems confronting
Palestinians today:

50% believe that the first most vital Palestinian goal should be to end
Israeli occupation in the areas occupied in 1967 and build a Palestinian
state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its
capital. By contrast, 28% believe the first most vital goal should be to
obtain the right of return of refugees to their 1948 towns and villages, 12%
believe that it should be to build a pious or moral individual and a
religious society, one that applies all Islamic teachings, and 10% believe
that the first and most vital goal should be to establish a democratic
political system that respects freedoms and rights of Palestinians.

The most serious problem confronting Palestinian society today is the
continuation of occupation and settlement activities in the eyes of 30% of
the public, while 26% say it is the spread of poverty and unemployment; 22%
believe the most serious problem is corruption in some public institutions,
and 18% believe it is the siege of the Gaza Strip and the closure of its
crossings.
---------------------------------

This PSR Poll has been conducted with the support of the Konrad Adenauer
Stiftung in Ramallah.

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