According to a survey published Dec. 27 by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, which was conducted in cooperation with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Ramallah between December 8 and 11, two-thirds of PA Arab respondents demand the resignation of Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. They are split over the resumption of coordination with Israel, with a majority saying Israel came out the winner and fearing the resumption would push even further the Arab normalization deals with Israel. A majority of respondents expressed optimism about President-elect Joe Biden’s election and support a dialogue with the new administration.
The total size of the sample was 1270 adults interviewed face to face in 127 randomly selected locations. The margin of error is +/-3%.
The survey asked about respondents’ expectations from the Biden administration and the resumption of a Palestinian-American dialogue. The majority of respondents expects an improvement in Palestinian-American relation and two-thirds expects an American resumption of economic aid to the PA. A majority of 59% support a resumption of PA dialogue with the new US administration, but only 44% support the return to negotiations with Israel with the US as the broker.
Three-quarters of respondents demand the holding of legislative and presidential elections, 38% said they would vote for Fatah (the main party in the PLO) and 34% for Hamas. But if Marwan Barghouti forms an independent list, he would receive 25% of the vote, and only 19% would vote for the official Fatah list. It should be noted that Barghouti is serving five life sentences in Israeli security prison for orchestrating numerous terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, against civilian and military targets.
Should Mohammad Dahlan form his own independent list, he would receive only 7% of the votes, and 27% would vote for the official Fatah list – which means that Hamas would be the beneficiary of a Dahlan run. Many in the PA believe Dahlan, who used to be a main figure in the Fatah leadership, was responsible for Chairman Yasser Arafat’s death.
Mahmoud Abbas would lose in a presidential election against Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, 43% to 50%. In fact, 66% of respondents demanded the resignation of Abbas. In a presidential election pitting Marwan Barghouti against Ismail Haniyeh, the former would win 61% of the vote, the latter only 37%. A competition between PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and Ismail Haniyeh would result in a 47% to 47% tie.
A majority of 53% oppose the resumption of the PA’s coordination with Israel, and the views are split as to whether or not Ramallah should accept the tax revenue collected on its behalf by Israel if salaries to terrorists and their families are deducted from the transferred funds.
A majority of 53% believe Israel came out the winner from the battle over security coordination, only 9% think the PA came out the winner. The majority thinks it was the Arabs who suffered as a consequence of halted coordination.
An overwhelming majority of 87% think Israel did not abandon its annexation plan. 43% expect an improvement in economic conditions now after the resumption of coordination.
61% believe the resumption of the PA’s coordination with Israel would result in even more Arab countries normalizing relations with Israel. 57% believe the resumption of coordination would diminish the prospects of reconciliation with Israel. 60% are satisfied with the resumption of coordination because of the improvement it would bring in health matters such as combating the coronavirus pandemic.
Regarding the peace process with Israel, 40% of respondents support the two-state solution, while 62% think it is no longer practical due to settlement expansion. 38% support reaching a peace agreement, compared to 48% who prefer an armed struggle. 29% support abandoning the two-state solution and the adoption of the one-state solution.
Finally, on the Arab Peace Initiative, Arab normalization with Israel, and Arab visits to Jerusalem, 75% of respondents believe the Arab Peace Initiative is a “thing of the past,” 57% believe Arab normalization hurts the prospects of peace with Israel, and the majority of respondents is opposed to visits to East Jerusalem by Arab tourists, particularly those from the Gulf.