Poll: Following Obama’s Election-Win, Palestinians, Israelis Seek More Active Role of the US in Moderating the Conflict

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[img_assist|nid=606|title=Following Obama's Election-Win|desc=US President-elect Barack Obama and President of the State of Israel Shimon Peres (Photo: Flash 90) |link=none|align=left|width=350|height=260]Poll: Following Obama’s Election-Win, Palestinians, Israelis Seek More Active Role of the US in Moderating the Conflict


December 18, 2008   - Following the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States, a majority of Palestinians and half of Israelis want the U.S. to play a more active role in moderating the conflict, according to the latest joint Israeli-Palestinian poll conducted by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah. The survey was conducted between November 26 and December 5, 2008, with the support of the Ford Foundation Cairo office and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

The poll also indicated that half of Israelis polled and half of the Palestinians think that a more active American involvement will be successful, whereas the other half is split between expecting it to have no impact or to fail. Nevertheless both sides expect no change in the U.S. role in the conflict. While Israelis expect no change in U.S. military economic and political support of Israel, Palestinians expect that U.S. support of Israel will strengthen.

In addition to examining Israelis’ and Palestinians’ expectations and assessments of the US policy toward the conflict following the election of President Obama, the poll also examined various negotiation tracks including the Israeli-Palestinian track, the Israeli-Syrian track and the Saudi (Arab League) plan currently on the public agenda, threat perceptions, support of violence, and domestic political affairs.

Following the recent public diplomacy campaign by the PLO negotiation team which published the full Arab League (Saudi) plan in Israeli newspapers in order to raise awareness of it among the Israeli public, the poll found that only 25 percent of Israelis reported having seen the ad. Following this public diplomacy initiative, the level of support for the plan remained stable: 36 percent of Israelis support and 61 percent oppose the plan now, while in September, 38 percent supported and 59 percent opposed the plan. Among Palestinians 66 percent support the Arab League plan and 30 percent oppose it.

With regard to the cease fire with Hamas, support is slightly down compared to three months ago: 51 percent of Israelis support its continuation and 44 percent oppose it. Among Palestinians, 74 percent support and 23 percent oppose the continuation of the cease fire agreement.

The Palestinian sample size was 1270 adults interviewed face-to-face in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in 127 randomly selected locations between December 3 and December 5, 2008. The margin of error is 3 percent. The Israeli sample includes 600 adult Israelis interviewed by phone in Hebrew, Arabic or Russian between November 26 and December 2, 2008. The margin of error is 4.5 percent. The poll was planned and supervised by Dr. Yaacov Shamir of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace and the Department of Communication and Journalism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Dr. Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR).

The full results of the poll will be presented at a panel discussion, 'A Year to Annapolis: Will Obama Take the Challenge?', at 3 p.m. on Thursday, December 18 at the Notre Dame Jerusalem Center, 3 Hatzanhanim Street (Opposite New Gate).

Former MK and Deputy Speaker, Prof. Naomi Chazan, and Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Andrew Koss, will be among the panel of Israeli, Palestinian and international speakers. Other speakers include Prof. Yossi Shain of Georgetown University and Tel Aviv University and Walid Salem, director of the Center of Democracy and Community Development in Jerusalem.

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