Richard J. Annen
Director, Center for Conflict Resolution Strategies

Palestinian Support for a Two-State Solution – The AWRAD Opinion Poll

“[A] poll would have to be secret because is impossible, even
perilous, for an Arab refugee openly to disclaim interest in
Martha Gellhorn
Pioneering War Correspondent

This is the third Post regarding the “Blueprint for an Imposed Peace to End the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” (the “Blueprint”), posted on May 24, 2024, and “The Facts Support Imposing Peace to End the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” posted on May 28, 2024. In this Post we examine “Gaza Survey 7th October,” a public opinion poll of Palestinians conducted by the Arab World for Research & Development (AWRAD) issued on November 14, 2023 (the “AWRAD Poll” or “Poll”).

The views of the Palestinian people, whether considered good or bad in terms of supporting peace, to the extent available and credibly obtained, must be considered to the fullest possible in developing a viable and implementable solution to end the Conflict. This includes identifying supportable, unsupportable and/or unsustainable positions which Palestinians may hold. Regardless of the many reasons to be skeptical as to the validity of Palestinian opinion polls, the AWRAD Poll provides some relevant insight as to those positions.

AWRAD is considered by some as an internationally respected research and consultancy agency based in Palestine. It is funded by, among others, multiple Arab governments, the UN, and the World Bank. The AWRAD Poll included 391 residents from the West Bank and 277 from Gaza, with the responses of each group stated separately and then totaled.

While the responses of Palestinians living in Gaza might seem more relevant because they live day-to-day with Hamas as their ruler and are experiencing first-hand the Israeli-Hamas war, the Survey shows very little difference between the responses of those living in Gaza vs the West Bank. The median age of respondents, both men and women, was 33 years, with 43% being between the ages of 18-29, and 81.1% between 18-49. There was little difference in responses as between men and women. These demographics are important because the vast majority of respondents have essentially only known life in Gaza under Hamas rule. It appears that well less than 10% of respondents are actual refugees expelled by Israel after the 1948 war, who today would be no less than 75 years old, and if adults at the time of expulsion, over 90 years old. Also, it is noted that, as framed, many of the questions asked show a clear bias of AWRAD, including that Hamas is identified as leading the “Palestinian resistance.” Whether Hamas prescreened the questions is unknown.

With reference to various tables in the survey, the following is a summary of some of the results:

Table 9: Now, has your commitment to the dream of achieving the Palestinian state increased or decreased?
Increased: 79.5%
Decreased: 16.2%

Table 11: Now, has your conviction in the possibility of achieving a peaceful solution with Israel increased or decreased?
Increased: 9.1%
Decreased: 86.7%

Table 25: Do you believe that Palestine or Israel will emerge victorious from this war?
Palestine: 72.6%

Table 27: How much do you support the military operation carried out by the Palestinian resistance led by Hamas on October 7th?
Extremely or somewhat support: 75%

Table 29: How do you view the role of the following parties:
Hamas: Very or somewhat positive: 76%
Islamic Jihad: Very or somewhat positive: 84.2%
Al Aqsa Brigade: Very or somewhat positive: 79.8%
Al Kassam: Very or somewhat positive: 88.6%
Hizballah: Very or somewhat positive: 45.1%;
Very or somewhat negative: 51.8%
US: Very or somewhat negative: 98.2%
UK: Very or somewhat negative: 97.6%
Egypt: Very or somewhat negative: 84.6%
Jordan: Very or somewhat negative: 86.4%
Saudi Arabia: Very or somewhat negative: 95.5%
UAE: Very or somewhat negative: 96%
EU: Very or somewhat negative: 92.6%
UN: Very or somewhat negative: 89.1%
Red Cross: Very or somewhat negative: 70.1%

Table 31: In your opinion, what was the main reason for the operation launched by the Palestinian resistance on 7th October:
To Free Palestine: 28.9%
Breaking the siege on the Gaza Strip: 21%
Stop the violations of Aqsa: 35%
For the cause of [releasing] prisoners: 2.2%
Preemptive strike: 1%
Vitalizing the Palestinian cause: 1%

Table 33: Do you support the solution of establishing one state or two states in the following formats:
One-State Solution for Two Peoples: 5.4%
Two-State Solution for Two Peoples: 17.2%
A Palestinian state from the river to the sea: 74.7%

Table 35: Do you expect this war to end by:
Peace agreement between Palestinian resistance and
Expect strongly or to some extent- 32.1%
Don’t expect strongly or don’t expect to some
Victory achieves the liberation of Gaza from the
Israeli invasion:
Expect strongly or to some extent-75.3%
Don’t expect strongly or don’t expect to some

Table 39: Do you believe that the current conflict in Gaza is primarily between?
Israel and Hamas: 18.6%
Israel and Palestinians in general: 63.6%

Table 41: The US and Western countries expressed a clear support for Israel in its confrontation with Palestinian resistance. Why do you think they did so?
As a sympathy with Israelian civilians: I agree
to large or some extent: 79.4%
Due to their hate of Muslim’s and Islam: I
agree to large or some extent: 89.5%
Due to their hate of Arabs: I agree to large or
some extent: 85.5%
As a deterrent against Iran & Hezbollah and their fear
of escalation against Israel: I agree to large or some
extent: 77.3%
Due to their political and economic interests in the
region: I agree to large or some
extent: 96.3%

Table 55: What would you like as a preferred government after the war is finished in Gaza Strip:
A government controlled by Hamas: 13.6%
A government controlled by the Palestinian Authority:
A national unity government: 72.2%

Table 57: On this day of the war, how much do you support a ceasefire that includes a mutual cessation of hostilities?
Very supportive or Supportive to some extent: 90.4%

The form of some of the questions presented in the Poll presented Palestinians with conflicting choices and the interpretation of their responses may lead to significantly differing conclusions. The Poll shows that Palestinians overwhelmingly support terrorism, including the October 7, 2023, attack by Hamas, reject coexistence with Israel, and continuation of the Conflict until a Palestinian state is created “from the river to the sea.” And to the contrary, the Poll also shows an overwhelming desire for a ceasefire and a unity government after the war ends. Only 13.6% of respondents want to continue to be ruled by solely by Hamas and only 8.4% by the Palestinian Authority.

An important question that was poorly asked is Table 35: “Do you expect this war to end by: Victory achieves the liberation of Gaza from the Israeli invasion: 75.3%.” Was this question interpreted to mean that Hamas and the Palestinian people will have won the current war by “liberating” Gaza if Israel stops the war by entering into a ceasefire? That would certainly be a “victory” for Hamas if the war stops before it is eliminated. Or was this question directed to the bigger picture of Gaza being liberated from Israeli by Israel losing a war to Hamas at some point. If that is how the question was interpreted, then the response reflects a belief that is completely detached from reality and ignores the 75-year history of the Conflict that shows such will never happen.

The responses in Table 29: “How do you view the role of the following parties,” is noteworthy because it reflects positively on every terrorist organization operating in Gaza, negativity toward the US and western democracies, every Arab nation that has achieved peace with Israel, and every humanitarian assistance provider, not just countries, but also the UN and Red Cross. The responses to this question reflect not only a level of indoctrination, but also that Hamas is controlling how humanitarian aid into Gaza is distributed, taking so much for itself that the Palestinian people are resentful of the aid providers.

The AWRAD Poll supports the conclusion that the Palestinian people do not know how to end the Conflict through a negotiated peace agreement because no Arab state or terrorist organization that has purported to represent their interests in doing so. Eighteen years (18) of indoctrination, in every sense of the word, coupled with the heavy hand of Hamas in every aspect of Palestinian life, and death, in Gaza, has created deeply radicalized population, blurring the line between Hamas fighter and innocent Palestinian civilian.

Thus, the AWRAD Survey, with all its flaws, confirms that as part of a viable two-state solution, (1) Hamas is an enemy that must be eliminated; (2) the Palestinians are highly radicalized and cannot assume any form of self-governance until deradicalized; and (3) unlike 2005, when Israel decided to withdraw from Gaza because “there exists no Palestinian partner with whom to advance peacefully toward a settlement,” it is the very absence of a governing body that presents the opportunity for Israel, the Arab states, the EU, and US to form an Alliance and impose peace as outlined in the Blueprint.

In the next Post, we will an opinion poll of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.

About the Author
Richard J. Annen is the Director of the Center for Conflict Resolution Strategies (CCRS) located in San Diego, California. CCRS's mission is to analyze real world human conflicts, crisis, and problems and develop detailed, fact-based, implementable resolution strategies. Prior to establishing CCRS, Mr. Annen was a board-certified trial attorney specializing in business litigation. Mr. Annen received his Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of Notre Dame.
Related Topics
Related Posts