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Wednesday, July 18, 2007
[Bush illusion shattered] Fafo Poll: Palestinians support rockets against Israel 56%:44%

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: Fafo provided the detailed tables to IMRA:

Question 3.45: All Palestinians factions must stop firing rockets against
Total: Strongly agree 17% Agree 27% Disagree 25% Strongly disagree 31%
West Bank: Strongly agree 16% Agree 31% Disagree 28% Strongly disagree 25%
GAza Strip:Strongly agree 20% Agree 19% Disagree 20% Strongly disagree 42%]

Fafo Press Release 18 July 2007

Political chaos takes its toll:
A new poll says Palestinians are losing faith in their political leaders and
want reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah

According to a new poll by Fafo, Palestinians see national reconciliation as
more important than peace talks with Israel. Eighty-five per cent of those
polled would like to see negotiations between Fatah and Hamas. Although a
higher proportion of Hamas voters (91%) are in favor of such talks,
reconciliation between the two parties also attracts strong support among
Fatah followers (73%). Fifty-eight per cent say they want peace negotiations
with Israel, which is a decline by 20 percentage points from December 2006.
People in Gaza and those who vote for Hamas are less likely to support talks
with Israel than others.

Palestinians are in disagreement on the formation of the recent government.
Thirty-one per cent of the Palestinians have little or no trust in the
Emergency Government. A similar share of the population is distrustful of
the Hamas Government in Gaza. Thirty-seven per cent think Mr. Fayyad's
government is Palestine's legitimate government, while 28% believe Mr.
Haniyeh's Hamas government is legitimate. The remainder of those polled -
35% - believes neither government is legitimate. Both governments receive
the highest legitimacy scores in Gaza while a larger share of people in the
West Bank (41%) think neither government is legitimate.

People are divided on the best way to improve the political situation.
One-half of those polled are of the opinion that President Abbas did the
right thing
when he declared emergency laws and appointed a new government. A majority
of the Fatah followers polled stand behind the President's decision while
few of the Hamas supporters polled do. Thirty-three percent believe the
solution is to be found in elections for a new parliament, while thirty-one
percent think that the preferred way forward is the establishment of a
coalition government. Fourteen percent are of the opinion that the best
strategy is to let Hamas stay in power, whereas 6% think Fayyad's government
should continue. Sixteen per cent believe a referendum would be appropriate.

It is unclear whether parliamentary elections will help the situation. If
parliamentary elections were to be held, 48% think that would have a
positive effect
on the current political situation, while 26% believe such elections would
make things worse. If elections were to take place, as many as 40% of the
electorate would chose not to cast their votes, which is an increase of 12
percentage points from Fafo's poll in December 2006.

If elections took place today, however, Fatah would win a majority of the
popular vote by a clear margin. Fatah would receive 45% of the votes of
those polled, which is level with the support recorded by Fafo's poll in
December 2006. Hamas, on the other hand, drops 6 percentage points over the
previous poll, receiving 22% of the votes today. Fourteen per cent of the
respondents said they did not know which party to support. Fatah received
approximately the same percentage of votes in both areas, gaining as much in
the West Bank as it has lost in Gaza, when compared with the December poll.
Hamas has lost 9% in the West Bank and gained 3% popularity in the Gaza
Strip. Today, 15% of West Bankers and 34% of Gaza dwellers would have voted
for Hamas, as compared with respectively 24% and 31% in December 2006.

There is general fear (73%) that Gaza and the West Bank will drift further
apart. Very few people support the idea of a Palestine divided into two
separate regions.

Forty-four per cent of the population want to establish Islamic rule of law
in Gaza. 89% of these want the same for the West Bank.

The proposal to send UN forces to the Gaza Strip receives support from only
one in four in the Gaza and the West Bank. A higher proportion of Fatah
followers (42%) than Hamas supporters (8%) are positive to the proposal.

Only 7% think Tony Blair is the right man on the job as the Quartet's Middle
East envoy.

Fafo carried out an opinion poll of 1,953 adult individuals in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip in the period 2-12 July. The study entailed face-to-face
interviews with persons aged 18 years and older. It gathered information on
all household members' living conditions and the selected individuals'
attitudes regarding current political affairs, elections, the security
situation, and relations with Israel. The poll was funded by the Norwegian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Attitudes regarding the current political situation

While 69% of Fatah's supporters think President Abbas does a good job, only
11% of Hamas' supporters do the same. Altogether 43% of the respondents
think the President does a good job (45% in the West Bank; 39% in Gaza),
whereas 31% think he does a very bad job. This is deterioration from
December 2006, when 56% said the President did a good job (52% in the West
Bank; 60% in Gaza) and 21% thought he did a very bad job.

53% (55% in the West Bank; 50% in Gaza) think President Abbas did the right
thing when he appointed the Emergency Government. This is true for 18% of
Hamas' followers and 86% of those who support Fatah.

However, only 37% think that the Emergency Government of Fayyad is Palestine's
legitimate Government (36% in the West Bank; 39% in Gaza). 28% hold the
opinion that Haniyeh's Hamas Government is Palestine's legitimate government
(24% in the West Bank; 35% in Gaza). One in three (35%) believe neither
government is legitimate (41% in the West Bank; 26% in Gaza). Among people
who vote Hamas, a majority (80%) say Haniyeh's government is legitimate
while 14% claim none is legitimate. A majority of Fatah voters (76%) believe
Fayyad's government is the rightful one, while 18% assert neither of the two
governments is legitimate.

50% of the respondents believe Hamas will improve the security situation on
the Gaza Strip. As many people think Hamas will manage to resolve the
conflicts between the various tribes (hamulahs) in Gaza, whereas one in
three (33%) trust Hamas will better the economic situation there. Gazans
have higher confidence in Hamas than West Bankers.

On a question regarding the responsibility of the violent fights that
triggered the formation of the Emergency Government, 84% of the polled blame
Israel and 54% hold the international community responsible. Half the
respondents say President Abbas and Fatah are responsible for the crisis
while 65 put blame on Hamas. Fewer people ascribe responsibility to regional
actors such as Iran/Syria (32%) and Egypt (20%).

27% think Hamas will resort to violent means to take over the control of the
West Bank (28% in the West Bank; 30% in Gaza). 47% of Hamas voters hold this
opinion as compared with 24% of Fatah voters.

44% of the polled would like to see Islamic rule of law established in Gaza
(42% in the West Bank; 48% in Gaza). 83% of Hamas supporters compared to 20%
of Fatah voters wish such a development. 89% of those in favor of
introducing Islamic rule in Gaza want the same for the West Bank (69% of
Fatah voters; 97% of Hamas voters).

A vast majority of respondents (85%) would like to see negotiations between
Fatah and Hamas (73% of Fatah voters; 91% of Hamas voters).

Only a minority (23%) think that the appropriate solution to the current
political crisis is to dismantle the Palestinian Authority (PA) and all its
institutions. This is, however, a minor increase from 19% in December 2006.
There are more people who support a closure of the PA in the West Bank (26%)
than in the Gaza Strip (16%), suggesting a stronger breakdown of confidence
in the overall political system in the West Bank than in Gaza.

There is general fear (73%) that the crack between Gaza and the West Bank
will widen (77% of Fatah voters; 63% of Hamas voters). Very few people (14%)
support the idea of a Palestine divided into two separate regions even if
Fatah and Hamas were not to reconcile.

More than half the respondents (54%) fear the collapse of the PLO. There is
no regional variation here, but the fear is larger among Fatah voters (56%)
than Hamas voters (47%).

Both Haniyeh's Hamas Government and Fayyad's Emergency Government attract
little trust in the Palestinian population. Only 31% of the polled state
they have very much and some trust in them. The support to both governments
is approximately 10 percentage points stronger in Gaza than in the West
Bank. Hamas followers voice the most support for the Hamas Government in
Gaza (86%) while Fatah followers give their strongest support to the
Emergency Government (59%).

People's trust in Parliament is also low (32%: 35% in the West Bank and 29%
in Gaza), which is 7 percentage points lower than in December of last year.
Those who support Hamas reveal more trust in Parliament than people who
support Fatah, at 68% versus 15%.

People's confidence in the security services (including the police) is lower
than last year. Merely 6% voice 'a great deal' of confidence while 21%
report 'quite a lot' of confidence. 38% have no confidence in the security
services at all.

The Executive Forces loyal to Hamas also suffer reduced support compared to
last year. Only 16% voice 'a great deal' of confidence and 14% report 'quite
a lot' of confidence, while 53% have absolutely no confidence in them.

People have the lowest confidence in political parties. 42% of the polled
say they have no confidence, 3% have 'a great deal' and 14% report 'quite a
lot' of confidence in them. Only 31% say they have confidence in NGOs.

15% have 'a great deal' of confidence and 30% report 'quite a lot' of
confidence in the PLO, while 26% have no confidence in the national
Palestinian institution. The faith in PLO is stronger in Gaza than the West
Bank and Fatah followers much more frequently report confidence in the PLO
than Hamas followers do, at 75% versus 27%.

Only 1% voice 'a great deal' of confidence and 9% report 'quite a lot' of
confidence in the Quartet, while 73% have absolutely no confidence in the
Quartet, which recently appointed Tony Blair its special envoy to the Middle

UNRWA is the institution that enjoys the greatest degree of confidence in
the Palestinian population as altogether 59% said they have either 'a great
deal' of confidence or 'quite a lot' of confidence in it. Yet it is a 10
percentage point decline in support since December 2006.

14% of the respondents have some confidence in the CNN and the BBC, while a
majority of 62% does not trust these media outlets whatsoever.

The poll asked people to indicate what, in their minds, the most pressing
political issue is right now. Results suggest that several issues are almost
equally important: reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas (25%); improved
economic conditions (23%); release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli
captivity (23%); and resumption of peace talks with Israel (14%).

One in four support deploying UN troops in Gaza (insignificant regional
variation). Among those in favor of sending UN troops, 88% think they should
buffer Israeli and Palestinian armed forces, 74% say they should impose law
and order in the streets, 72% think they could separate armed groups from
Hamas and Fatah, while 60% believe the UN forces should stop arms smuggling
between Egypt and Gaza.

Election trends:

If elections to a new Palestinian parliament were to be held, 32% say they
would vote for Fatah and 16% would vote for Hamas. 40% declare they would
choose not to participate in the elections. Excluding those who would
abstain, Fatah receives 45% and Hamas 22% of the votes.

If parliamentary elections took place, 48% think that would have a positive
effect on the current political situation, while 26% believe such elections
make things worse (22% in the West Bank; 34% in Gaza). Fatah followers in
particular deem new elections useful (81%), while fewer Hamas supporters
(28%) do the same. 49% of the Hamas supporters believe new parliamentary
elections would be counterproductive.

If people were to elect a new Palestinian president now, 30% would opt not
to cast their votes. The current President, Abbas, would receive 25% of the
votes, Hamas' leader Haniyeh, who has declined to leave the Prime Minister's
Office in Gaza, would receive 23% of the votes, and Marwan Barghouti, who is
still behind Israeli bars, is supported by 18% of the electorate.

Living conditions:
· 16% of the Palestinians claim to be among the poor while 13% say
they are rich. The majority (74%) say they are neither rich nor poor.
· 28% of the population aged 15 and above were working during the
week preceding the interview (47% of men; 9% of women). 51% of West Bank men
worked while 41% of men in the Gaza Strip did the same. 10% and 7% of women
worked in the two areas respectively. These are very low figures both in an
international and a regional perspective.
· 10% of the surveyed population was unemployed in the week preceding
the interview, whereas 26% were students and 31% were classified as
housewives. The retired and those who for health reasons were unable to work
made up 5%.
· Assuming that the Palestinian workforce consist of those who worked
and those who were out of work (but wished to work) the week preceding the
poll, we have a labor force of 38% and an unemployment rate of 25%. The
unemployment is highest among the youngest (38% for people aged 15-29); it
is virtually identical for women and men; and it is higher in Gaza (31%)
than in the West Bank (22%).
· The personal economy has deteriorated for 62% of the population (WB
60%; Gaza 66%) compared to the same time last year. 6% reported improved
economy (WB 7%; Gaza 4%).
· The life situation has deteriorated severely for 30% of the polled
compared to last year while an additional 26% of them reported that things
in life had become somewhat worse. Only 2% claimed to have improved their
situation and 10% said their lives had improved somewhat. The percentage of
respondents who reported deteriorating conditions was 9 percentage points
higher in Gaza compared to the West Bank.
· 49% of the polled are dissatisfied with their lives and only 3%
reported to be very satisfied and 21% rather satisfied.
· 55% expect that things in their lives will improve next year (WB
53%; Gaza 57%).
· 38% say that the household will be unable to secure their basic
needs for the three months to come should the economic situation remain as
it is now.
· One out of four says that the water supply must be improved. While
6% of the population is not connected to the water network, another 26% had
interrupted delivery of piped water the day before the interview (WB 30% and
Gaza 17%). Only 38% had piped water 24 hours while 49% had water for 12
hours or less the day preceding the interview. One in four thinks water is
the local service that is in most need of improvement, while 15% hold the
opinion that it is the sanitation system that requires development the most.
· 79% had electricity for 24 hours the day preceding the interview
(WB 88%; Gaza 60%)
· 70% of all households failed to pay the latest electricity bill (WB
62%; Gaza 86%) and 74% had not paid the latest water bill (WB 67%; Gaza
· 70% of all households have debts. 52% owe more than USD 1,650 and
10% owe nearly USD 8,000.

War and peace:

58% (WB 78%; Gaza 50%) want peace talks with Israel to resume, a decline
from 78% in December 2006. People who vote for Fatah are much more
supportive of peace negotiations than those who vote for Hamas, at 74% and
29% respectively.

44% of the respondents are of the opinion that the missile attacks on Israel
should cease (WB 47%; Gaza 39%). 53% of Fatah's supporters compared with 22%
of Hamas' supporters hold this position, while respectively 24% and 57% in
the two groups say they strongly oppose halting such attacks.

Only 4% believe that the kidnapping of foreigners serve the Palestinian
cause (WB 5%; Gaza 2%). There are insignificant differences in the opinions
of Fatah and Hamas supporters.

The security situation:

· Overall, people in the Gaza Strip feel safer in their neighborhoods
than people in the West Bank. While a vast majority feel that children,
women and men alike are safe during daytime this is not the case in the
evenings. 26% in the West Bank and 48% in Gaza (total of 34%) state that it
is safe for children to be outdoors after dark. 30% of the respondents in
the West Bank find that it is safe for women to be outdoors after dark,
while 51% of the respondents in Gaza say so (total of 37%). The figures for
men are 48% in the West Bank and 60% in Gaza (total of 52%).
· Notwithstanding the stronger feeling of security in the Gaza Strip,
a larger share of households in Gaza than in the West Bank report being
subject to a criminal act during the 6 months preceding the interview (16%
versus 6%). Altogether 10% of the households say they have experienced
crimes such as theft, violence or serious threats during the past 6 months.
55% of these households report at least one such incident the past month.
· Of all episodes reported in the poll, 37% were threats provoking
fear, 24% were thefts, 13% gunfire, 11% physical violence resulting in
injury or death and 8% violence that not implied injury.
· The respondents generally claimed to know the identity of the
perpetrators, or at least which 'group' they belonged to. 24% of the
reported criminal acts were attributed to Hamas' Executive Forces and 19% to
security forces loyal to Fatah. The IDF and various political factions were
reported to be behind respectively 16% and 11% of all incidents.
· 30% of the polled had heard daily shooting in their neighborhood
during the past month (WB 18%; Gaza 51%). An additional 15% reported weekly
episodes of shooting. 27% of the respondents had heard one or a few
shootings during the month prior to the survey while 28% (WB 40%; Gaza 5%)
said they had not heard shooting in the neighborhood the past month.
· 62% are in favor of disarming armed groups (no significant regional
variation; 72% among supporters of Fatah; 47% among Hamas' followers).
· 59% of the polled expressed general fear for the security of their
households (WB 34%; Gaza 54%).

The results are available at Fafo's web-page:

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