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Sunday, August 26, 2001
Survey of Palestinians finds no support for compromise on right of return

Survey of Palestinians finds no support for compromise on right of return
IMRA: The survey of Palestinian refugees by IPCRI (Israel Palestine Center
for Research Information) detailed below provides strong evidence that
"Beilin-style" proposals to withdraw to "final" borders, establish a
Palestinian state (with all that that entails) while pushing off the refugee
problem with an amorphous "it will be OK" formula that provides for all
Palestinian refugees to be asked if they want to move to Israel with an
"understanding" that only a few will opt to and/or that an amorphous
numerical limit on annual immigration to Israel would be "understood" is
completely out of touch with reality.

It will certainly be interesting to see how Israelis associated with IPCRI
come to grips with the news that the light at the end of the Oslo tunnel is,
as the cynics warned, a freight train hurtling towards us.]

Palestinian Refugees and the Negotiations for Permanent Status
Survey Report
August 2001
Duuring the past year, IPCRI conducted 48 Town Meetings in nine refugee
camps in the West Bank and Gaza aimed at involving the refugee population
more in the discussions concerning their own future. A report of those
meetings can be found at: http://www.ipcri.org/dri.htm.
That report aims at presenting the findings of IPCRI staff as heard directly
from the refugees who participated in the meetings.
At the conclusion of the two meetings, we conducted a public opinion poll
amongst Palestinian refugees. This report deals with the opinions of
Palestinian refugees and their views of issues regarding the right of return
and negotiating the refugee issue.
The study included refugees from 1948 and displaced people from 1967. The
sample included Palestinians distributed in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank
throughout 16 locations in camps, villages, towns and cities. A random
sample of 1,830 was picked, from which 183 were dropped due to
Trained researchers distributed surveys consisting of two forms, the first
includes demographic information, the second contained the survey questions
with multiple choice answers.

Population Totals
The study was conducted in the following locations:
Ramallah 32 Ein Arik (1) 20
Birzeit (2) 8 Nablus 16 Qataneh (3) 50 Gaza 11
Doha (4) 15 Tulkarm 180 Fara'a 90 Ama'ari 95
Qalandia 140 Aroob 135 Jabalia 298
Nuseirat 275 Khan Yunes 235 Shu'fat 47
(1) 8 km West of Ramallah
(2) Center for 45 refugee families
(3) 14 km northwest of Jerusalem. Registered refugees, owners of confiscated
(4) South of Beit Jala
Random Sample Selection
A total of 1,830 samples were picked at random, collected as follows:
* The study areas were divided into sectors, 4 in Gaza Strip and 12 in the
West Bank.
* A total of 34 field researchers (who are residents of the area) were
recruited and trained.
* The sectors were divided into sub sectors and houses were selected at
random from each sub sector. On person was interviewed from each 6th house.
As for larger urban areas, assistance was located from UNRWA and local
residents to determine target groups.
* Detailed demographic information is retained about each participant's
* Additional effort was spent in follow-up to collect late surveys and to
insure surveys are accurate and complete.

Difficulties encountered while collecting the surveys include:
* In light of the charged political environment, some of the participants
refused to answer some of the questions.
* Many participants felt that political decision makers never consider
their opinions, thus, thought the effort was useless.
* The study included several social classes; the field researchers found it
particularly difficult to survey the elderly and the illiterate.
* Some of the surveys were never returned, some required additional efforts
to collect.
* Some of the participants were harassed by bystanders who thought that
participation of such survey indicated willingness to compromise

(figures are in percentages)

International legitimacy should be the basis for negotiating the refugee
78.3 Strongly agree
21.6 Agree
0.0 Disagree
0.0 Strongly Disagree
0.2 No opinion

International resolutions should be applied in resolving the Palestinian
refugee problem, including UN Resolution 194
67.5 Strongly agree
28.7 Agree
0.0 Disagree
0.0 Strongly Disagree
3.8 No opinion

The refugee problem is the core of the Palestinian problem
89.0 Strongly agree
10.9 Agree
0.0 Disagree
0.0 Strongly Disagree
0.1 No opinion

Lasting peace in the Middle East is tied to the return of the refugees to
their homes
86.8 Strongly agree
11.8 Agree
0.0 Disagree
0.0 Strongly Disagree
1.3 No opinion

Compensation is not an alternative to return
81.5 Strongly agree
17.2 Agree
0.0 Disagree
0.0 Strongly Disagree
1.3 No opinion

Family reunification can be considered return
0.3 Strongly agree
4.8 Agree
26.1 Disagree
67.8 Strongly Disagree
1.0 No opinion

Return must be to exact places of original residence
90.9 Strongly agree
8.9 Agree
0.0 Disagree
0.0 Strongly Disagree
0.2 No opinion

Return means going back to the 1948 territories, not to PA controlled
90.8 Strongly agree
9.2 Agree
0.0 Disagree
0.0 Strongly Disagree
0.0 No opinion

Palestinian negotiators are capable of dealing with Israeli negotiators
about the right of return
6.3 Strongly agree
12.6 Agree
52.9 Disagree
25.9 Strongly Disagree
2.3 No opinion

Israeli negotiators will stick to their positions about the refugees
(meaning no return) even if it hinders reaching other agreements
85.9 Strongly agree
11.1 Agree
0.4 Disagree
0.1 Strongly Disagree
2.6 No opinion

Palestinian refugees will insist on their right of return regardless of
where they are presently residing
84.8 Strongly agree
13.4 Agree
0.0 Disagree
0.0 Strongly Disagree
1.9 No opinion

Palestinian refugees will refuse resettlement where they currently reside
80.3 Strongly agree
18.9 Agree
0.2 Disagree
0.0 Strongly Disagree
0.6 No opinion

The right of return means:
2.9 Return to areas controlled by the PA
97.1 Return to original home towns

In the event that the refugees are given an opportunity to return, you will:
96.7 Return to your original home town
0.2 Will not return to your original home town
3.2 Don't know

If given the right to return to original hometown, would you accept living
under Israeli sovereignty and citizenship
85.2 Yes
11.7 No
3.1 Don't Know

In your opinions, does the PLO have the right to concede on the right of
1.5 Yes
96.5 No
1.9 Don't Know

If given the following choices, which will you choose?
68.9 Return without compensation
2.4 A package combining compensation without return, family reunification
and settling in PA areas.
3.6 Resettlement
23.7 There will be no solution
1.3 Don't know

What is your position -as a refugee- should an unsatisfactory solution is
0.9 Giving in to reality
1.7 Objecting and disputing the agreement
30.5 Finding other means to express rejection
64.5 Confrontations using force
2.4 Don't know

Do you support or object to the following phrase: "It is not possible to
accept a peace agreement which does not include the right of the Palestinian
refugees to return to their native homelands".
97.4 I support
0.0 I object
2.6 I don't know

If it is mandated that compensation be provided as an alternative to return,
you will accept
3.3 Individual compensation for each refugee
0.9 Collective compensation for the Palestinian State
93.1 Will not accept any compensation
2.8 Don't Know

IPCRI, founded in Jerusalem in 1988, is the only joint Palestinian-Israeli
public policy think-tank in the world. It is devoted to developing practical
solutions for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
P.O. Box 9321, Jerusalem 91092
Temporary Office: Tantur
Telephone: 972-2-676-9460 Fax: 972-2-676-8011
Email: ipcri@ipcri.org
Gershon Baskin: gershon@ipcri.org Zakaria al Qaq: law@ipcri.org
Peace Education Program: peace_education@ipcri.org
IPCRI's Environment and Water Program: environment@ipcri.org
Home Page: http//:www.ipcri.org

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