NEC August Poll: 69% of Palestinians support peace with Israel, half of all Palestinians support November summit on Mideast Peace

NEC August Poll: 69% of Palestinians support peace with Israel, half of all Palestinians support November summit on Mideast Peace
Date: 26.08.07
Source: NEC
The August edition of the Ramallah-based Near East Consulting's monthly bulletin on Palestinian perceptions towards an Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

According to the Near East Consulting monthly bulletin on Palestinian perceptions for August 2007, the level of support for convening a peace conference on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, as outlined by U.S. President George Bush, is evenly split. As for Fatah supporters, 74% of their respondents think of this call rather positively.

The poll finds that 69% of Palestinians support a peace settlement with Israel, a 10% increase since May 2007. 85% of Fatah respondents support a peace settlement, while only 45% of Hamas respondents support such a settlement.

63% of the respondents believe that Hamas should change its position regarding the elimination of the state of Israel. This view is significantly stronger among Fatah-aligned respondents than among Hamas-aligned respondents.

The poll also finds that the majority of the Palestinians do not believe that the appointment of Former PM Tony Blair will have a positive impact on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Only 27% believe that his presence will have a positive impact, with the highest positive attitude towards Blair’s role present among Fatah respondents (42%).

This bulletin is part of a running series of General Perception Surveys conducted monthly by NEC, a survey and research firm based in Ramallah, since January 2006. These surveys seek to document and analyze Palestinian perceptions of the political, economic, social, and security-related issues that frame daily life in the West Bank and Gaza.

This August survey was conducted by telephone between the 11th and 14th of August, 2007, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.35%, with a 95% confidence level.

Questions relating to the peace process within the poll are listed in detail below.

1. Attitude towards the Washington initiative for a peace conference

The Palestinian public is split between support and opposition regarding the recent call by President Bush for an international conference in the Middle East.

The support for an international conference is very strong among Fatah supporters (74%) as opposed to Hamas supporters (26%). Moreover, the support among the rest of the respondents lies between the two factions' positions.

2. Attitude towards peace with Israel

a. Support for a peace agreement
Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip does not appear to have influenced Palestinian support for a peace agreement with Israel. In fact, according to the poll, there's more public support for peace now than there was in May, before the takeover, when only 59% of Palestinians supported an agreement. Support for peace is also higher today than it was a year ago, in August 2006, when only 51% of Palestinians were found to support a peace agreement.

As could be predicted, support for a peace agreement with Israel is much more prominent among Fatah-aligned Palestinians, with 85% of Fatah supporters responding in favor. Again, the support for a peace agreement among those aligned with other political factions is lower than the figures for Fatah supporters but higher than the figures for Hamas supporters.

b. Attitude towards Hamas’ position vis-?-vis the state of Israel
Support for a peace agreement with Israel can also be seen in people’s attitudes towards Hamas' position on the existence of Israel. 63% of the Palestinians polled feel that Hamas should change its position vis-?-vis Israel as opposed to 37% who want the position to remain unchanged.

Among Hamas supporters alone, only 27% favor a change in the organization's position, whereas 81% of Fatah supporters and 69% of non-partisans would like to see such a change.

3. The appointment of Blair

The recent appointment of Tony Blair as the head of the Quartet is seen by some as an attempt to revive the peace process by bringing in a politician who is well-acquainted with the region, has much experience in peace negotiations, and who has strong relations with many leaders in the region.

This feeling is not necessarily shared by the majority of the Palestinian public. 76% of respondents feel Blair's presence will have a negative impact on the Palestinian-Israeli issue. Only 24% of all respondents view his appointment favorably.

This view, nonetheless, is not consistent among all sectors of the Palestinian society. 42% of Fatah supporters believe Tony Blair’s presence might prove to be positive as far as the Palestinian-Israeli problem is concerned, but only 10% of Hamas supporters share this positive view. Only small minorities among unaligned respondents and those aligned with other factions view Blair's appointment favorably.