2001 Opinion Poll #3

  Poll No.3
Survey # 3: The Impact of the Israeli-imposed Siege on Palestinian Living Conditions  
Background The field research started two days after the Israeli elections took place. These elections resulted in the victory of Mr. Ariel Sharon, leader of the right-wing Likud party. The polling took place while the West Bank and Gaza Strip were under a complete siege. Unemployment and poverty rates were at an all-time high. Violence is still continuing; the number of Palestinians killed since the beginning of the Intifada has risen to over 400. Negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis have been terminated, with no chance in sight for them to resume. There continues a debate within Palestinian society regarding issues such as: collaboration with Israel (spying), the death penalty, the boycott of Israeli products, and the performance of PA institutions. Two Palestinians, accused of collaboration with Israeli intelligence in the killing of fellow Palestinians, have been executed (in public) by the PA.
1) The sample:
In this opinion poll, 1,200 Palestinians were interviewed. They were selected in a scientific manner (random and representative – multi-stage sample), taking into account geographic and governorate distribution. Samples considered living location – villages, cities and camps, gender and all age groups, starting with the age of 16 (In its sample, DSP includes Palestinians with 16 & 17 years of age in respect of their opinions and in recognition of their contribution to society, as can be seen in the Sample Distribution table. The exceptional circumstances under which the present poll was conducted led to the exclusion of two villages that were replaced by two other villages in the same governorates. Both villages had comparable social and economic conditions. This replacement was necessary after the first two villages were sealed off and attacked by Israeli soldiers and settlers, leading to a high degree of risk to our field researchers. The field research had to be postponed twice for the Qalqilya city which was totally saled off. The field work in that City took place on 10th of February.
2) The field research:
The field research was conducted according to the scientific rules followed by DSP researchers under normal circumstances. The prevailing circumstances in this case led to greater attention to the safety of the field researchers, avoiding entry into areas that could place their lives at risk. Despite the difficult conditions, the enthusiasm and courage of the field researchers led them to adhere to the rules of field research: neutrality while remaining highly sensitive to the hard psychological and living conditions suffered by the Palestinians. Each research team was made up of a female and a male researcher. They were chosen from a group of trained researchers who have been working for many years and have long-standing experience. The best researchers were selected from among those who have worked previously with other centres, in addition to the well-experienced researchers of the DSP. During the various training sessions, the importance of integrity and scientific neutrality were underlined. Their capacities were developed with a focus on interview methods and mapping skills. Field-work coordinators carried out field visits to verify that researchers had reached their work locations, and had selected the sample according to the set scientific rules. An exhaustive list of instructions was distributed to field researhers, as it was discussed with them.
3) The questionnaire:
The questionnaire was prepared by a group of well-known Palestinian researchers, who proposed the issues and questions that should be covered by the poll. The DSP has set up a steering committee for opinion polls, made up of accredited researchers, experts and statisticians, to supervise the work involved in the preparation of the methodology, the questionnaire and data analysis. A pre-test was conducted.
4) Data-entry and data-analysis:
Data were entered and analyzed according to the statistical program (SPSS). Data analysis was conducted under the supervision of a senior Palestinian expert.

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Editorial Board - CDS Birzeit, Palestine

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