Photo Credit: Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90
Judea and Samaria Arabs clash with PA security forces in Shechem, September 20, 2022, following the arrest of Hamas members on September 20, 2022.

The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research on Tuesday published its public opinion poll for the third quarter of 2022, showing that the domestic balance of power shifted a little in favor of Fatah, the military arm of the PLO. A whopping 70% of the respondents expressed worry that internal armed strife might erupt in the near future; and close to 90% don’t trust the statements of the PA government regarding the transfer of the salaries they earn in Israel to PA banks.

In Israeli-PA relations, support for both the two-state and one-state solutions is on the rise, while support for armed attacks on Israelis declines and support for negotiations increases.

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The latest poll was conducted by the PSR in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza between September 13 and 17, 2022. The third quarter of 2022 saw the armed confrontation between the IDF and the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip without Hamas involvement; President Joe Biden’s visit to Bethlehem to meet with Chairman Mahmoud Abbas; the appointment of Yair Lapid as a prime minister replacing Bennet and the setting of a date for new Israeli elections; The UAE’s announcement of a $25 million donation to the al Makasid Hospital in eastern Jerusalem; the opening of Israel’s Ramon airport to PA Arab travelers; Israel’s increase of the number of Gazan workers allowed into its territory; the attempted assassination of former Hamas deputy prime minister Dr. Nasser al Sha’ir near Shechem; a PA announcement that salaries of PA workers in Israel would be paid via PA banks; plans by the PA to reduce the number of public sector employees; and Abbas’s despicable statement during a visit to Germany that Israel committed 50 Holocausts.

The sample size is 1270 adults interviewed face to face in 127 randomly selected locations. The margin of error is +/-3%.

PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh inaugurates a municipal water network project for villages, September 3, 2022. / Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90

The poll asked respondents to evaluate domestic conditions under Prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh’s government:

  • Positive evaluation of conditions in the Gaza Strip stands at 7% and positive evaluation of conditions in the West Bank stands at 25%.
  • Nonetheless, the perception of safety and security in the Gaza Strip stands at 76% and in the West Bank at 54%.
  • 25% of the public say they want to emigrate due to political, security, and economic conditions. The percentage in the Gaza Strip stands at 29% and in the PA at 23%. Three months ago, 26% of PA Arabs expressed a desire to emigrate and 27% of Gazans expressed the same desire.
  • Perception of corruption in PA institutions stands at 86%. When asked about institutions controlled by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, 73% indicated that there is corruption in these institutions. Three months ago, 86% said there is corruption in PA institutions and 71% said there is corruption in public institutions controlled by Hamas.
  • 39% of PA residents think people in the PA can criticize their government without fear while 58% think they cannot. In the Gaza Strip, 46% think people in the Strip can criticize Hamas’ authorities without fear and 54% think they cannot.
  • In its assessment of the PA, a majority of the PA Arabs (57%) view it as a burden on the people while 38% view it as an asset for the people. Three months ago, 59% viewed the PA as a burden and 36% viewed it as an asset.
  • 25% are optimistic and 73% are pessimistic about the success of reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. Three months ago, optimism stood at 26%.
  • After more than three years since the formation of the Shtayyeh government, findings indicate persistent pessimism. Responding to a question about expectations regarding the ability of the Shtayyeh government to make progress in reconciliation and reunification, 74% expect failure; only 21% expect success. When asked about the ability of the government to organize legislative or legislative and presidential elections in the PA and the Gaza Strip, 25% of the public expect success, and 69% expect failure. In another question about the ability of the new government to improve economic conditions, a majority of 73% expect failure and 22% expect success.
  • The majority are satisfied with the performance of the various actors involved in the management of the Coronavirus crisis: 67% express satisfaction with the performance of the security services deployed in their areas and 68% are satisfied with the performance of the ministry of health. Satisfaction with the performance of the prime minister in the management of the coronavirus crisis stands at 49%. Three months ago, satisfaction with the prime minister’s performance in the coronavirus crisis stood at 41%.
  • The pollsters asked the public about its expectations regarding the identity of the perpetrators of the attempted assassination of Dr. Nasser al Sha’ir near Shechem two months ago. The responses did not indicate a clear trend but about 27% pointed the finger at the PA security services and Fatah: 14% said the security services and 13% said armed men from Fatah. Additionally, about 14% said the assassination attempt came as a result of a struggle within al Najah university, where Dr. al Sha’ir works, while an identical percentage accused the Israeli army, 9% thought it resulted from personal or family conflict, and 6% thought it resulted from conflict within Hamas.
  • A large majority of 63% are worried that this assassination attempt might lead to internal armed confrontations when conditions are ripe as had happened in the past in the Gaza Strip; 28% say they are not worried. The level of worry is higher in the PA than in the Gaza Strip, 69% and 53% respectively.
  • A majority of 61% opposed the lawyers’ strike which was waged to protest the decisions of the PA chairman to amend legislation affecting the judiciary; 26% stood in favor.
  • An overwhelming majority of 79% say it opposes PA plans to cut down the size of the public sector while only 19% say they are in favor. When asked about the sector whose size should be cut, the majority (62%) selected the security sector, 15% selected education, 10% selected health, and 6% selected social affairs.
  • The overwhelming majority (85%) expresses solidarity with PA Arabs who work in Israel in rejecting the PA announcement that the salaries of these laborers will be paid to them via PA banks while only 12% say they trust the government assurances to the workers that this measure will help protect their interests, allowing them to benefit from the banking services, and that no new taxes will be imposed on those salaries. Trust in the PA assurances stands at 6% in the PA and 22% in the Gaza Strip.
  • The vast majority (73%) say the PA government is not doing enough to reduce prices, while 25% say it is doing so.
  • The pollsters asked the public about the burden imposed on their households due to the rise in prices and asked them to tell us which sector or sectors were the most affected: 48% selected the food sector; 27% selected energy such as electricity, solar, and gasoline, 14% said rent, 6% said education, 3% said transportation, and 3% said health.
  • The pollsters asked the public about its viewership habits in the last three months. Findings indicate that al Jazeera TV has the highest viewership, standing at 29%, followed by al Aqsa TV (11%), Maan, Palestine Today TV, Palestine TV (10% each), al Arabiya (4%), al Mayadeen (3%), and al Manar (1%).
Islamic Jihad site in Gaza takes a hit. August 2022 / Majdi Fathi/TPS

On the Islamic Jihad-Israel armed confrontation:

  • The largest percentage (42%) thinks that neither Israel nor the Islamic Jihad won the recent armed confrontations last month. But 27% (33% in the Gaza Strip and 24% in the PA) think Israel came out as the winner while only 12% think Islamic Jihad won. Surprisingly, 11% think Hamas, who did not participate in the confrontation, came out as the winner.
  • Half the respondents (50%) say that Hamas’ decision not to become directly involved in the armed exchange between Islamic Jihad and the Israeli army was the correct decision while 37% say it was the wrong decision. The percentage of those who think it was the correct decision is much higher in the Gaza Strip (68%) than in the PA (38%).
  • But only 27% expect Hamas’ decision to lead to an improvement in economic conditions in the Gaza Strip while the largest percentage (42%) think economic conditions will remain unchanged and 22% think they will worsen. In the Gaza Strip, 34% expect conditions to improve while only 23% of PA residents think so.

What are the most vital PA Arab goals and the main problems confronting them today?

  • 40% believe that the first and most vital PA Arab goal should be to end the Israeli occupation in the areas occupied in 1967 and build a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip, with eastern Jerusalem as its capital. By contrast, 32% believe the first and most vital goal should be to obtain the right of return of refugees to their 1948 towns and villages. 17% believe that the first and most vital goal should be to build a pious or moral individual and a religious society, one that applies all Islamic teachings. Only 11% believe it should be to establish a democratic political system that respects the freedom and rights of all PA Arabs.
  • In a question about the main problem confronting PA Arabs today, the largest percentage, 27% (28% in the Gaza Strip and 26% in the PA), mentioned unemployment and poverty; another 27% (13% in the Gaza Strip and 37% in the PA) said it is corruption in the PA; 24% (34% in the Gaza Strip and 17% in the PA) said it is the continued siege and blockade of the Gaza Strip; 11% said it is the continuation of the occupation and settlement construction; 8% (11% in the Gaza Strip and 6% in the PA) said it is the split between the PA and the Gaza Strip; and 4% said it is the weakness of the judiciary and the absence of liberties, accountability, and democracy.
  • When asked about the most pressing problem confronting PA Arabs today, the largest percentage (36%) said it is the Israeli occupation, while 22% said it is corruption, 16% said it’s unemployment, 13% said it’s the split or division, and 9% said it is internal violence.
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David writes news at JewishPress.com.
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