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Here are stark examples of terrible biased polling.  This poll comes from Dr. Nabil Kukali from PCPO:

Up to which extent do you agree to or oppose each of the following items should there be in the near future a public referendum on a peace agreement with the Israelis?

West Bank and Gaza Strip:

01) Israel would keep 4 % of the West Bank and Gaza Strip area, which contains 80% of the Israeli settlements. As an exchange for that, Israel would offer the Palestinians 2% of its land adjacent to Gaza Strip. Would you support or oppose this deal?

Response Percent
     1. Support. 21.2
     2. Oppose.  72.2
     3. Don’t know.  6.6

Why the Above Question is Biased and Badly Framed: Of course any human being would oppose giving 4% and getting 2%, let alone giving land centrally located and getting something down south in arid land.  But that is not what is on the table!  And the principle of fair dealing has been accepted by most Israeli negotiators, that any land annexed by Israel would be compensated on a 1:1 basis, emphasizing a fair bargain. 

A fair way to frame that question (even with the poller’s facts, which I am not sure if are correct) would have been: Israel would evacuate from all settlements except for 3 settlement blocks along the 67 border that comprise 4% of the West Bank, which would be incorporated into Israel in exchange for land of equal size and value that would be given to Palestine.

When polled that way, 69% of Palestinians support that proposal!


East Jerusalem:

02) Living quarters inhabited by Arabs in East Jerusalem should be put under the Palestinian jurisdiction, the Jewish quarters to be annexed to Israel. Would you support or oppose this?

Response Percent
1. Support. 40.6
2. Oppose. 52.7
3. No opinion. 6.7

Why the Above Question is Biased and Badly Framed: Unlike professional pollers like K. Shikaki, who phrase things in neutral ways without trying to curry favor with any particular group, this poller takes a political position by stating the Jewish quarters will be "annexed" to Israel, making this be a concession from the Palestinians.  I am surprised that even with the above framing only 52% opposed it.

An unbiased way to phrase the question would be: Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem would be under Palestinian jurisdiction, while Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem would be under Israeli jurisdiction, and each State would have the right to establish its capital within its sovereign territory.  This phrasing traditionally used by Palestinian and Israeli proponents for Jerusalem to be the capital of both states is more factual and feasible.


The Old City of Jerusalem:

03) Upon dividing the Old City of Jerusalem between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel would keep the "Wailing Wall" (Western Wall), the Jewish and the Armenian quarters. A special arrangement would be made for the area of the Temple Mount (area of Al-Aqsa Mosque). Would you support or oppose this?

Response Percent
1. Support. 18.7
2. Oppose. 72.5
3. Don’t know. 8.8

Again, this poller phrases things in such a way that only ardent pacifists would accept something that seems unjust.  The way it is phrased, Israelis would get to take something quite well delineated, while Palestinians would get NOTHING because no arrangement has been delineated for Al Aqsa Mosque and Al Quds Al Sharif! 

But the fact is that any proposal that will work will need to give due deference and preference to the current status quo of religious leadership, which, little known to most, is already apportioned according to the religious leadership chosen by each side: Palestinian Muslim authorities already oversee Al Aqsa Mosque, while Israeli Jewish authorities oversee the Western Wall, and Armenians the Armenian churches, etc. 

If and when a two state agreement is reached, Palestinians will have sovereignty over Arab East Jerusalem, which includes Al Aqsa. This is a perfect example of how symbols are used to rile people against each other for no practical reason.  If people want to co-exist and respect each other, physical and religious edifices and symbols and institutions will not stand in the way.

Last Example:

The right of home-return:

05) Presuming that the Palestinian State would take up the Palestinian refugees. Israel, with other countries, would establish an international fund for the compensation of those refugees, who want to return under the Palestinian jurisdiction and can’t return to their original homeland in Israel. Would you support or oppose such a settlement of the Palestinian refugees problem?

Response Percent
1. Support. 23.5
2. Oppose. 68.2
3. Don’t know. 8.3

The Refugee Plight is a powerful emotional issue that will not be resolved unless the process for its resolution is perceived to be just.  This is an important distinction: no historic compromise can achieve perfect JUSTICE, but if the PROCESS is PERCEIVED AS FAIR, people will be far more likely to accept it. That is why framing things as above – "Can’t Return to Their Original Homeland in Israel" is manipulative. 

The Clinton Parameters laid out a proposal for how to resolve the refugees’ plight, same which President Arafat endorsed in Taba, that presents the only possible way to address this issue in a way that achieves the core interests of the Palestinian people for recognition of their plight and suffering and a fair process to handle the claims of the refugees, while being acceptable to their neighbors in Israel and their interest in preserving Israel as the single homeland to the Jewish people.

Above all the plight of the refugees would be recognized by the world and the Israeli people – it doesn’t mean Israel needs to "take blame", but for Palestinians it is important that it be acknowledged that whatever the circumstances, they resulted in a terrible injustice to the refugees.  This will go a far longer way to resolving this issue than most people realize. 

It would then be followed by a multi-pronged option for a) refugees to resettle in the new State of Palestine, b) refugees to be given citizenship where they live, c) refugees to be resettled in third countries, d) a limited number of family reunifications to be permitted for Palestinians with family in Israel (the big debate between Barak and Arafat was on what that number would be, which oscillated between 10,000 and 100,000 people), and e) a compensation fund will be created for refugees for any lost property and for their pain and suffering.

DISCLAIMER AND CLARIFICATION: ALL OF THE ABOVE LANGUAGE AND INFORMATION ARE NOT ONEVOICE POSITIONS.  They are thoughts and ruminations based on Daniel Lubetzky’s analysis of data and polls and negotiations positions and documents.  OneVoice as an international movement can only take positions on areas where there is consensus among the Israeli and Palestinian people, and while on many of the above areas there is far more hidden consensus than meets the eye, these issues are not issues on which OneVoice as a non-partisan, non-political movement has taken official positions.

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