Thursday, May 20, 2010
Polling for Peace (Or Against It) http://yaacovlozowick.blogspot.com/2010/05/polling-for-peace-or-against-it.html
I'm a fan of public opinion polls only up to a degree. They can easily be manipulated. Their questions are sometimes downright misleading, or ambiguous, or unhelpful, or all of the above. There are better ways to gauge public opinion, especially in the long run: elections for example aren't bad, or long term behaviors. Still, once you've reminded yourself to keep that pinch of salt handy, polls can have their uses.
Especially one such as this, which tells us what we mostly knew anyway, this time with confidence-inspiring numbers.
72% of Palestinians think that all of Palestine should belong to the Muslim Waqf, for example. (59% think it's essential, 12% think it's desirable). 12% say that's unacceptable - yet some of them must be saying so merely because they don't like the Muslim part of the question.
Now compare the Palestinian insistence the Israel not be here, with Israelis' positions on having a Palestinian state next door.
There's lots more where that came from. 54% of Palestinians won't accept settlers remaining in Beitar and Modi'in Illit; 66% wouldn't accept settlers remaining even as Palestinian citizens - not that there would be more of a handful who'd want to anyway. Divide Jerusalem according to neighborhoods (Clinton Parameters): 61% of Palestinians are against the idea. Jews remain in control of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City (founded in the year 1267): 76% of the Palestinians are against -though in this case, I'm glad to see that the Israelis are also hardly in favour of dividing Jerusalem - never fewer than 50% of them in favour of division.
Actually, it might be fun for the Israelis among us to answer all the questions ourselves and come back and report: according to this, are we to the left, right or center of the Israeli median. Didi and Alex need not bother: we know their answer.
Predictably, some pundits spun the poll as proof that the Israelis and Palestinians are equally against peace through partition. Josh Marshall, for example. Others were more clear-eyed, or perhaps they read the numbers before running to tell about them - Jonathan Chait, for example.