Palestinian Perceptions towards Politics, Peace, and the Conflict
in the Lebanon
With an additional analysis of the perceptions of Christian Palestinians
A report prepared by
Near East Consulting
AUGUST 7, 2006
POB 4, Ramallah, Palestine
During the period 2-4 August, 2006, Near East Consulting (NEC) conducted a
phone survey of over 1,200 randomly selected Palestinians in the West Bank,
the Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem of which 713 were successfully completed.
It is worth noting that the margin of error is +/- 3.6% with a 95%
Also given the recent special circumstances in the region and the reference
that is often made regarding Islam and Israel, the NEC team conducted
another survey of Christian Palestinians, using the same questionnaire, in
an attempt to gauge if the views of this minority sector within Palestinian
society differ from those of the majority of Palestinians, and also, of
course, because it is estimated that about 40% of Lebanese society consists
of Christians. Accordingly, 165 Palestinian Christians in the Gaza Strip and
the West Bank (including Jerusalem) were successfully surveyed.
I. Main findings
LACK OF TRUST IN FACTIONS: HAMAS STABLE, FATEH DOWN: The percentage of
Palestinians not trusting any faction has never been as high and stands at
36%. Fateh has lost its previous lead on Hamas from 38% in June to 29% in
August, while trust in Hamas remained unchanged at 30%. Trust in Fateh is
stronger in the Gaza Strip, while trust in Hamas is stronger in the West
Bank. Trust of the Christian Palestinians in factions is as follows: Fateh
29%, PFLP 17%, Hamas 7%, and 43% do not trust any faction.
HANIEH MORE TRUSTED THAN ABBAS. Prime Minister, Ismaiel Hanieh, is now more
trusted by the Palestinians than President Mahmoud Abbas. However, Mahmoud
Abbas is more trusted than Ismaiel Hanieh in the Gaza Strip, while the
latter is more trusted than Abbas in the West Bank. Christian Palestinians
have more trust in Mahmoud Abbas than in Ismaiel Hanieh.
PALESTINIANS ARE MORE DEFIANT. There is an improved feeling of security
among the Palestinians despite the attacks on Gaza and in the Lebanon. The
feeling of security is stronger among Hamas supporters and among West Bank
residents than among Fateh supporters and Gaza Strip residents.
DROP IN SUPPORT FOR A PEACE SETTLEMET, PARTICULARLY IN THE WEST BANK. There
is a sharp decrease in the level of support for a peace settlement with
Israel. While 76% in June declared their support for a peaceful settlement
with Israel, the percentage after five weeks dropped by 25% to reach 51%.
Support for peace is stronger among Fateh supporters (63%) than among Hamas
supporters (32%) and is stronger in the Gaza Strip (63%) than in the West
INCREASE IN SUPPORT FOR A CEASEFIRE. Despite the drop in support for a peace
settlement with Israel, more Palestinians today (78%) support a ceasefire
between the Palestinians and Israel than five weeks ago (70%).
PALESTINIANS BELIEVE THAT THE KIDNAPPED SOLDIER IN GAZA SHOULD NOT BE
UNCONDITIONALLY RELEASED. About 91% of the Palestinian public do not believe
that the Israeli soldier should be released unconditionally. Palestinians do
not believe that the unconditional release of the kidnapped Israeli soldier
in Gaza will end the conflict there. On the contrary, 23% said that the
situation will worsen and only 7% believe that a release will end the
Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip. The great majority of the Palestinians,
70% believe that an unconditional release will not make any difference as
far as the Israeli attacks are concerned. The views of the Christian
Palestinians on this issue do not differ from the views of the general
INCREASE IN SUPPORT FOR HAMAS POSITION VIS-A-VIS THE ELIMINATION OF THE
STATE OF ISRAEL. For the first time, a majority of Palestinians (55%) agree
that Hamas should not change its position regarding the elimination of the
state of Israel. Even 29% of the Christian Palestinians share this view. The
percentage of those holding this view among Fateh supporters now is 39%.
This position is also more pronounced in the West Bank than it is in the
NO PEACE PARTNER IN ISRAEL, BUT PEACE PARTNER IN PALESTINE. About 75% of
the Palestinians do not believe that there is a peace partner for the
Palestinians in Israel, while 71% of the respondents believe that there is a
peace partner for Israel in Palestine. Among Christian Palestinians, 63%
also do not believe that the Palestinians have a peace partner in Israel,
while 85% believe that there is a Palestinian peace partner.
INCREASE IN SUPPORT FOR HEZBOLLAH. An overwhelming majority of the
Palestinians (97%) support Hezbollah's position towards Israel. This
position is also held by 95% of the Christian Palestinians. There is a
significant increase in support for Hezbollah in the aftermath of the
incursions into the Lebanon by Israel. More than 56% of the Palestinians say
that their support to Hezbollah has increased and 30% said that it remained
the same. Only 14% said that the level of support to Hezbollah has
diminished since the recent Israeli-Lebanese crisis. The increase in support
to Hezbollah among the Christian Palestinians is even higher as 66% said
that their support to Hezbollah now is stronger than before.
ISRAELI SOLDIERS KIDNAPPED BY HEZBOLLAH SHOULD NOT BE UNCONDITIONALLY
RELEASED. About 93% of the Palestinian public, including 93% of the
Christian Palestinians do not believe that the kidnapped Israeli soldiers in
Lebanon should be unconditionally released.
ISRAEL IS HEGEMONIAL OVER THE USA. The majority of the Palestinians (54%)
think that Israel controls the US, while 46% who think that Israel is
controlled by the USA. The majority of the Palestinians also believe that
the current attacks in the Lebanon are conducted for the interest of Israel
and the USA, combined.