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Palestinian Public Opinion Polls: Views on the Wye Peace Process

(November 1998)

A poll of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza taken shortly after the signing of Wye agreement indicates strong support for both that agreement and the peace process in general. Here are a few of the other highlights of the survey results:

A majority of 75% supports the peace process, but only 59% support the Wye agreement while 35% oppose it.

A majority of 57% think the Israelis gain more from the agreement, while 18% believe the Palestinians gain more.

A majority of 78% think the The Palestinian Authority (PA) will implement the agreement, but only 19% think the Israeli government will implement it.

A majority of 54% opposes the security arrangements contained in the agreement, and 64% fear that their implementation may lead to internal armed conflict among Palestinians.

A majority of 51% believe that the Palestinian negotiating team could have obtained a better agreement.

A majority of 53% oppose and 41% support the idea of the Palestinian opposition resorting to violence against Israelis as a means of resisting the Wye agreement.

Only 38% expect the final status talks to succeed.

Palestinians are split on the unilateral establishment of statehood on May 4, 1999, with 46% supporting and 47% preferring waiting for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.

Only 45% expect the current peace process to lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state in the coming years.

The results of this poll, which was conducted two weeks after the signing of the Wye Memorandum, show an important increase in the percentage of those supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process from 66% last month to 75% now. This is the highest percentage recorded by CPRS since December 1996.

On the other hand, the results show that Palestinian support for the Wye agreement is cautious, and that it derives from the high level of general support for the peace process, and the conviction that there is no alternative to it as a means of achieving Palestinian goals. The reserved attitude toward the Wye agreement comes from the belief that it serves Israeli interests rather than addressing Palestinian needs. Nevertheless, Palestinians appear to back taking risks for the sake of peace by supporting the agreement. They are also hesitant about preventing the opposition from using violence against Israelis to attack the agreement, but show no tolerance for those who want to oppose the agreement by resorting to violence against the PA.

Methodology: These are the results of opinion poll #37, conducted by the Center for Palestine Research & Studies, between November 12-14, 1998. The total sample size of this poll is 1,321 from Palestinians 18 years and older, of which 828 in the West Bank and 493 in the Gaza Strip. The margin of error is + 3% and the non-response rate is 3%.

Sources: Center for Palestine Research & Studies (CPRS)