Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On The Issue Of Palestinian Emigration--The West Bank And Gaza Have Changed Places

A couple of days ago, I blogged about a poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) indicating that half of Palestinians polled were in favor of killing Israeli civilians.

Elder of Ziyon found another interesting result in the poll: Over a million Palestinian Arabs want to leave their homeland - and cannot

He gets that number based on the following poll question and response:

08) Do current political, security, and economic conditions lead you to seek emigration abroad?

TotalWest BankGaza Strip
1) Certainly seek to emigrate14.19.621.3
2) Seek emigration15.214.816.0
3) Do not seek emigration33.634.731.6
4) Certainly do not seek emigration36.539.930.9
5) DK/NA0.71.00.2

That means that 24.4% of West Bank Arabs and 37.3% of Gazans want to leave, for a total of 25.3%--and based on the total number of Arabs in the territories, that comes out to 1.1 million Arabs.

How does that number compare with years past?

For a point of comparison, here is a study from Badil Resource Center:
Based on a sample study conducted in 1993, Dr. Bernard Sabela, political scientist at the Bethlehem University, estimates the numbers as following:
16,917 - who emigrated abroad since 1967
12,080 - who emigrated to outside the municipal boundaries
12,500 - who currently live in the North Jerusalem area (inside the boundaries of the pre-1967 Jerusalem, but excluded by the Israeli authorities)
7,630 - who were outside the country in 1967 and therefore never issued Israeli IDs
A total of 49,127 Palestinian Jerusalemites (31,5% of Jerusalem residents) are currently emigrants living outside the country or living here outside the municipal boundaries. THIS FIGURE DOES NOT INCLUDE THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS!
Other estimates are much higher. The AIC-Project for Palestinian Residency & Family Reunification is currently making an attempt to obtain official data from the Jerusalem Interior Ministry. [emphasis added]
Christian Science Monitor, October 24, 2006:
Birzeit University pollster Nader Said, who has monitored emigration attitudes for 12 years, says the percentage of Palestinians willing to relocate once hovered just below 20 percent. When that figure jumped to 32 percent in a September survey, Mr. Said says he was shocked.

The catalyst, the pollster says, has been Palestinian disillusionment following Hamas's half-year in government. "What the Israelis were unable to do – try to push the Palestinian out of the country – the internal strife is achieving," he says.

Even more telling, adds Said, is that the percentage surges to 44 percent among Palestinians in their 20s and 30s. Among young men, it surges beyond 50 percent.
Here are the Bir Zeit result on that question (cached), with the above 2010 poll results in parentheses for comparison:

If you have a chance to immigrate, will you do that?
West Bank
Gaza Strip
32.4% (PSR: 29.3)
33.2% (PSR: 24.4)
30.8% (PSR: 37.3)
66.6% (PSR: 70.1)
65.7% (PSR: 74.6)
68.4% (PSR: 62.5)
I don't know
1.0% (PSR: 0.7)
1.2% (PSR: 1.0)
0.8% (PSR: 0.2)

Another poll from the same time confirmed the number of Arabs who considered emigrating:

TVNZ, November 22, 2006:
A poll published by the An-Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus this month found one in three Palestinians wanted to emigrate.

The 1,350 people surveyed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip cited dire economic conditions as the first reason, followed by lawlessness, political deadlock and fears of civil war.
One thing is clear: back in 2006, more West Bank Arabs were thinking of emigrating than Gazans--now the results show the opposite. Considering the improved situation in the West Bank as opposed to Gaza, that is not surprising.

Also, overall the number of Arabs who are considering emigrating seems to have dropped slightly, though statistically the 3% is probably within the margin for error. In that case, the overall numbers have stayed consistent.

But one thing is clear: Hamas totalitarian rule has disillusioned Arabs in the territories to a degree that PA corruption has not.

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