Poll: 97% of east J’lem residents oppose Israeli control over entire city

An expert says the findings reflect both nationalistic and practical feelings.

THE MINARET of a mosque is seen near the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan (photo credit: REUTERS)
THE MINARET of a mosque is seen near the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan
(photo credit: REUTERS)
When it comes to the future of Jerusalem, 97% of the Palestinians living in the city say that they strongly object to the idea that Jerusalem should maintain its current municipal boundaries and be fully annexed to and controlled by Israel, according to a comprehensive survey conducted by the Leonard Davis Institute of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
However, the survey also indicates that 97% of the responders said that they also strongly object the idea that Jerusalem should be divided along the June 1967 armistice boundaries, without allowing the residents of the city access between its parts.
The survey – obtained by The Jerusalem Post earlier this week ahead of Jerusalem Day – was conducted by Prof. Dan Miodownik, the director of the university’s Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations; Noam Brenner, a PhD candidate in the political science department; and the Israel-Palestine: Creative Regional Initiatives organization. It was funded by the European Union as part of a project titled “Building a Vision for the Future of Jerusalem.”
For the survey, 612 Palestinians from 22 east Jerusalem neighborhoods were interviewed face-to-face in January. Concurrently, 584 Jewish residents of west Jerusalem were interviewed and asked the same questions.
The poll’s response rate was 82%; its margin of error was 4%.
Miodownik explained to the Post on Thursday that the similarity of the responses to both questions is that the answer to the first question might reflect a more nationalist feeling, while the second seems to address more of a day-to-day, practical point of view.
“The objection to the annexation of Jerusalem by Israel reflects the collective desire of the Palestinian people,” he said. “It indicates that they are tied to the Palestinian struggle that would not accept that Israel expanded Jerusalem, annex more territories and declared it a part of the State of Israel. On the other hand, the [second answer shows a] deep fear of what could happen if the city would be divided,” he said.
“They fear how it would affect the daily life of their population, and what would happen to the things they value most, such as moving freely, employment possibilities and the services that they receive.
“I also think that these findings... represent the fear of the unknown from the day after the division,” Miodownik continued.
When it comes to the Jewish responders from west Jerusalem who were asked the same questions, only 13% objected to the idea of keeping the current boundaries under Israeli control. 84% said that they either object or strongly object to the idea of dividing the city along the Green Line without enabling access to both sides of the city.
A third option – to divide the city along the 1967 lines giving access to both sides – was objected to by 43% of the Palestinian and 69% of the Jewish responders.
THE SURVEY tackled three main issues: The future of Jerusalem, the sense of personal security in the city and general satisfaction with life in the city.
94% of the Palestinian responders said that they have observed violence between the Israeli security forces and local residents in their own neighborhood in the past six months; 73% said that it was either often or very often. This was compared to only 15% of Jewish responders who said often or very often.
Speaking about safety, only 38% of the Palestinians said that they feel safe in their own neighborhood. In comparison, almost twice as much of the Jews – 74% – said that they feel safe.
When it comes to feeling safe in the entire city, 32.4% of the Palestinians said that they feel safe in Jerusalem, while 53% of the Jewish responders said the same.
Ranking the services given by the Jerusalem Municipality and other authorities, there several aspects where both Jews and Palestinians are equally unsatisfied.
For instance, only 39% of the Jewish responders and 38% of the Palestinian responders said that they are satisfied with the public transportation in their neighborhood.
Only 28% of the Jews and 15% of the Palestinians said that they are satisfied with the level of cleanliness in their neighborhood.
However, in certain areas such as green spaces and the condition of streets and buildings, Palestinians feel more deprived. 68% of them said that they are dissatisfied with the conditions of streets and buildings, and 66% are dissatisfied with the amount of green space in their neighborhood.