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A poll Conducted By The Palestinian Center For Research And Cultural Dialogue – PCRD

On Youth (18-30 years) in The West Bank And In Cooperation With The Hanns Seidel Foundation

•    39.1% will vote for Fatah versus 9.8% for Hamas while 30.8% for none of the political parties.
•    51.3% in favor of establishing a new political party in Palestine.
•    42.1% believe that the most important feature of democracy is the chance to change the government via elections.
•    42.5% evaluate the status of democracy in Palestine as either good or very good.
•    37.7% prefer the mixed (i.e. proportional representation and constituencies) electoral system as the best one that can be applied in Palestine.
•    39.2% believe that Civic Society Organizations (CSO’s) contribute to an average degree to promoting the awareness of Palestinian people on democracy and human rights.
•    83.5% believe to a very high degree or to a high degree that people get away with things through nepotism and cronyism.
•    24.5% believe that the most important issue for building a law state is the stability of security conditions.
•    74.3% will cast their ballot in the next legislative and presidential elections.
•    47.2% prefer a democratic regime in which all political parties are represented
•    30.3% believe that proliferation of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous threat to the entire world.

The Palestinian Center for Research and Cultural Dialogue- PCRD and in cooperation with the German Hanns Seidel Foundation conducted a public opinion survey on Palestinian youth (18-30 years) in the West Bank on democracy and good governance. The poll was conducted during the period Oct 1-3, 2010 and included a random stratified sample of 1000 youth who were interviewed face to face. Margin of error was 3%. Male respondents comprised 50.7% whereas female respondents comprised 49.3% of the sample.

More than one-third of the youth (36.7%) evaluate the status of democracy in Palestine as good, whereas 34.2% of them believe it is average, 13.3% poor, 6.3% very poor, and 5.8% believe it is very good, while 3.7% express no opinion.

When asked about their evaluation of public freedoms and human rights in Palestine, 36.2% of the youth say it is good, whereas 29.5% say it is average, 15.1% poor, 9.7% very poor, and 5.5% say it is very good. However 4.0% are noncommittal.

Regarding the question on the electoral system that can best be applied in Palestine, 39.7% say they prefer the mixed one i.e. proportional representation and constituencies, whereas 27.0% prefer constituencies, and 18.5% prefer the proportional representation (i.e. political blocs). However, 14.8% of the youth abstain from answering this question.
As last year, the youth again express little confidence in the political parties and that is why they opt for the mixed electoral system and distance themselves from the proportional representation which is in favor of the political parties. When asked about the role of Civic Society Organizations (CSO’s) in raising the awareness of Palestinians regarding their rights and duties, 36.7% of the youth state they do so to an average degree, whereas 23.2% state that they do so to a high degree, 15.4% to a low degree, 4.1% to a very low degree, 3.5% to a very high degree, and 9.6% state they do not have any role in this regard. Yet, 7.5% express no opinion. Coincidently, the total  percentage of those who say that CSO’s played an important role in raising the awareness of Palestinians regarding their rights and duties to a very high degree, to a high degree, and to an average degree adds up to 63.4%. This result is exactly as that of last year, which indicates the somewhat high confidence in the role that CSO’s play in this regard.

When asked “To what degree do Palestinian CSO’s play a role in monitoring the performance of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and holding it accountable”? 22.3% of the youth respondents say that they do so to an average degree, whereas 19.5% of them say they do it to a low degree, , 11.0% to a very low degree, 10.7% to a high degree, 3.2% to a very high degree, yet 23.2% believe that CSO’s have no role at all in this respect. 10.1% abstain from expressing any opinion.

When asked on their opinion of the impartiality of the Palestinian judiciary and courts, 32.4% of the Palestinian youth believe that they are impartial to an average degree, whereas 29.7% believe they are so to a high degree, 12.6% to a low degree, 5.3% to a very high degree, 6.1% to a very low degree, 9.3% of the youth respondents state that the Palestinian judiciary and courts are not impartial at all, and 4.6% express no opinion.

When asked “To what degree do you believe that the different types of Palestinian mass media are impartial”? 32.4% of the youth say they are impartial to an average degree, whereas 28.9% say they are so to a high degree, 10.1% to a low degree, , and 8.7% to a very low degree, 7.2% to a very high degree. Yet, 10.5% of the Palestinian youth say that the mass media is not impartial at all, whereas 2.2% are noncommittal.

When asked “To what degree do you believe that people around you get away with things by giving bribery”? 37.1% believe to a high degree that bribery works and makes them manage to get what they seek for, whereas 25.3% believe the same to a very high degree, 24.2% to an average degree, 9.8% to a low degree, and 1.8% to a very low degree. In addition, 1.5% of the youth believe that bribery does not work at all, and 0.3% abstain from answering this question. However, the percentage of those who believe to a very high degree, to a high degree, and to an average degree that bribery works adds up to 86.6% which gives a grave indication in that although almost two thirds( 67.4%) of Palestinian youth believe to varying degrees that the Palestinian judiciary and courts are impartial, yet they still do not have high confidence in their efficiency.

When asked if they believe that the public sector, private sector and CSO’s prefer to hire men than women, 31.6% of the youth so believe to an average degree, whereas 24.2% of them agree with this notion to a low degree, 23.5% to a high degree, 7.6% to a very low degree, and 2.7% to a very high degree. In addition, 9.3% of the youth believe that the said sectors have no such preference, whereas 1.1% express no opinion.
Regarding their opinion of the most important issue towards building a law state, 24.5% of the youth say that the most important issue towards this end is the stability of security conditions, followed by 21.3% who say it is the safeguarding of a citizen’s security,  18.5% putting an end to the Palestinian internal division,17.2% who believe it is the promoting of rule of law and safeguarding the independence of  judiciary, 9.5% for holding those who misuse the public money accountable,  5.7% for putting a halt to violations on the part of the PA’s institutions and apparatuses,  2.3% for monitoring the function of security apparatuses, and 1.0% for sustaining the values of tolerance and accepting the others’ religion.

When asked whether or not they will cast their ballot in the next legislative and presidential elections, 74.3% of the youth state they will, whereas 20.4% state they will not, and 5.3% refrain from answering this question.

As for the relationship between religion and democracy, 39.7% of the youth believe it is conciliatory, whereas almost one-fourth (25.7%) believe it is complementary, then 17.4% contradictory. Yet, 17.2% of the youth see no relationship between religion and democracy under all circumstances.
When asked if they believe whether or not the next legislative and presidential elections will be impartial, 30.3% of the youth believe that they will be impartial to an average degree, whereas 24.6% believe to a high degree they will be impartial, 14.7% to a low degree, 5.9% to a very low degree, and 5.5% to a very high degree. However, 9.5% of the youth believe they will not be impartial at all, and 9.5% are noncommittal.
When asked about which political parties or factions they  would support, 39.1% of the youth say they support Fatah, followed by 9.8% who say they support Hamas, then 3.9% Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), 1.9% for the People`s party,1.7% for both Al-Mubadara Al-Wataniah (the initiative) and the Islamic Jihad, 1.2% the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and 0.4% for Fida. Yet, 7.4% say they support unaffiliated nationalists, followed by 1.5% who supports unaffiliated Islamists. The most interesting thing is the fact that the percentage of  30.8% of the youth who say they do not support any of the above-mentioned parties or factions is very close to that of last year( 30.5%), whereas 0.6% says they support others.

When asked “which of the following is most important to you”? 34.2% of the youth say that the most important thing for them is peace, followed by 30.1% of them who opt for freedom, 12.2% economic conditions, 11.4% for work, 11.0% for the family, and 1.1% express no opinion

When asked what the political system of a future Palestinian state should be, 47.2% of the youth say they prefer a democratic regime in which all political parties are represented, whereas 28.1% prefer an Islamic regime with numerous parties based on Islam, and 17.2% go for an Islamic single-party government, and 7.5% refrain from answering this question.

When asked about what should the main source of legislation in the future Palestinian state be, 38.3%  say they prefer the Islamic law( Shari’a), whereas a close percentage of the respondents ( 34.7% go for a combination of both Shari’a  and civil laws, 22.9% for civil laws only, and 4.1% express no opinion.
When asked “Which of the following constitute the most dangerous threat to the entire world?” a bit  less than one-third (30.3%) of the youth believe that this threat is represented by the proliferation of nuclear weapons, followed by 24.1% who believe it is the religious and sectarian prejudice, 11.4% for widening the gap between the rich and poor people, 11.2% for AIDS and other contagious diseases, 9.7% for the global financial crisis, and 6.7% for the global warming, 2.7% for  pollution. Yet, 3.9% of the youth are non-committal.
When asked how often they use the internet,  25.7% of the youth say they use it sometimes, whereas 22.7% say they use it always, 17.4% use it often, 6.0% rarely. Yet, 28.2% of the youth state they never browse the internet.

  When asking only those who use the internet, about the kind of topics they usually look for, 19.8% of the youth who browse the internet say that they look for cultural topics, whereas 18.1% of them use it for reading articles, 15.6% for chatting, 14.3% for recreation, 13.2% for music, 11.1% for reading newspapers and magazines, 5.9% for news, and 2.0% say they browse otherwise.

When asked to choose between democracy and strong economy a considerable majority (60.3%) of the youth opts for strong economy, whereas 39.7% prefer democracy. This is natural for a human being in that democracy becomes a luxury when compared to bread winning.

When asked “which state do you think would be the best ally to Palestinians in the long run”? 18.7% of the youth state that the best ally for Palestinians would be Iran, followed by 18.1% for Jordan, then 10.7% for Saudi Arabia , Qatar 8.3%, the United States 2.3%, France 5.1%, Germany 3.1%, Japan 5.7%, the Scandinavian Countries 7.5%, and Britain 4.5%, whereas 16.0% believe that their ally would be otherwise. One can notice the decrease of percentage as to the United States because the failing policies of Obama in the Middle East. Germany’s percentage has declined and this can be attributed to the killing of the Egyptian woman ”Marwa Sharbini” by a fanatic inside the court house. What is more interesting is the decline of Iran’s percentage. The latter can be attributed to the fact that Palestinians are more convinced that Iran is still considerably contributing in the Palestinian divide between Fatah and Hamas.

When asked “Are you in favor of Iran’s possessing nuclear weapons”? more than one-third (36.5%) of the youth state they are in favor, whereas 22.7% state they are highly in favor, 20.1% against, and 8.8% strongly oppose, and 11.9% express no opinion.
 One many see a paradox in the youth’s responses in that while 30.3% of the youth say that proliferation of nuclear weapons poses the most dangerous threat to the entire world,  59.2% of them either  support or highly support Iran’s possessing nuclear weapons. Data also shows that 18.7% of them believe that Iran would be their best ally. This can still be understood because of Iran’s policies against Israel. Palestinians believe that Iran’s possessing nuclear weapons will be at least as a deterrent power against Israel. 

When asked whether or not they support an establishment of a new political party in Palestine 40.1%  of the Palestinian youth do support such a thing, whereas 28.8% oppose, 15.3% strongly oppose, 11.2% strongly support, and 4.6% refrain from answering this question. This result of support is considerably less that the 47.7% percentage of those who supported such a political party last year. This can be attributed to the desperate political conditions that Palestinians are going through.
    When asked “In case a new political party has emerged, which of the following should be included most in its platform”? more than one-third (35.2%) of the youth say they would prefer to see social justice i.e. freedom, democracy, peace and tolerance, followed by 21.3% for economic development, 18.7% for just peace with Israel based on UN resolutions, 14.6% for human rights, and 10.2% of them prefer civil rights i.e. equality, women’s rights, child’s rights, and regulating social life like marriage, divorce and inheritance.

    When asked “ If you had the choice to live in the historic area of Palestine ( i.e. Israel, West Bank and Gaza Strip) what type of political system would you prefer to live under”? 34.7% of the youth say they prefer an Islamic state, whereas one-third (33.2%) of them prefer a bi-national state where everybody can enjoy equal rights, followed by 20.2% who say that they prefer a secular state where Islam is the official religion, then 11.9%  opt for a democratic and secular state in which Jews, Christians and Muslims can live together. 
    When asked about their support to a woman’s occupying a high ranking position in the state, more than one-half (54.0%) of the youth say they support such a thing, whereas 19.9% of them say they strongly support it, followed by 15.3% say they oppose, and 8.3% strongly oppose, while 2.5% express no opinion. The total percentage of 73.9% of those who strongly support, or somewhat support a woman’s occupying a high ranking position in the state goes in line with the total percentage of 84.2% who strongly agree or somewhat agree that men and women are equal and that the society should treat both of them exactly the same which is mentioned in a previous question.
When asked about their main source of general knowledge, a plurality ( 41.2%) of the youth say it is the TV/radio, whereas 21.7% of them say it is the internet, 17.2% religious lessons, 11.4% books, 6.4% personal communication, 1.5% other sources, and 0.65 express no opinion.
Regarding the question on their opinion on which areas Palestinians should work on most for the sake of development, 23.1 go for the national economy, whereas 22.2% go for the children education, 12.7% for promoting Palestinian democracy, 13.1% for developing the health system, 11.5% for re-structuring the political factions, 6.2% for developing the already existing judicial system, 4.4% for leisure, 4.3% for promoting adult education, and 2.5% for strengthening the internal cohesion of the society.
When asked” Do you prefer to see more worship places or educational institutes built” a little less than half( 45.3%) prefer to see more of both worship places and educational institutes built , whereas 26.6% of the youth say they would rather see more worship places built, 23.4% go for more educational institutes built. Yet 4.7% express no opinion.
Regarding the question on co-educational education, 37.7 somewhat support such a system, whereas 28.6% oppose, 19.2% strongly support, 11.2% strongly oppose, and 3.3% express no opinion.
When asked about the main criterion for somebody proposing to marry one’s sister/brother, 31.2% of the respondents say they care for the financial conditions, whereas 23.1% try to find out whether or not s/he is religious, 21.2 for the social status of the family, 19.8% educational background. Yet, 3.5% of the youth say they do not interfere and 1.2% are noncommittal.
When asked if they trust more the judiciary or the tribal law, 55.8% say they trust the judiciary better, whereas 32.9% will go for the tribal law and 11.3% abstains from answering this question.

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