U.S. poll: 35% Palestinians in East Jerusalem prefer Israeli citizenship
By Yehonathan Tommer
WASHINGTON – A surprising 35% of East Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents would prefer to live as Israeli citizens under Israeli rule if the city was permanently divided in a future settlement and only 31% would opt to live in an independent Palestine while 30% chose not to answer.
But as many as 39% said they believe most Palestinians would prefer Israeli citizenship.
These results likely to worry a Palestinian leadership were found in a recent U.S. survey of public opinion in East Jerusalem’s 19 Palestinian neighborhoods.
The survey, which observers consider credible, was conducted by Pechter Middle East Polls for the Council of Foreign Relations jointly with Dr. Nabil Kukali head of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Centre for Public Opinion.
The study further indicated that Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem choosing Israeli citizenship value the freedom of movement their blue Israeli residency cards give them in Israel, the higher income, health and welfare benefits obtained and better job opportunities.
As many as 40% said that if their neighborhood was transferred to Palestine they would relocate their homes to areas of the city under Israeli sovereignty. Only 29% said the reverse, that they would relocate their homes to areas transferred to Palestinian rule.
Palestinians preferring to live as citizens of Palestine were overwhelming motivated by patriotism and nationalist goals. Some 36% were disturbed by varying degrees of discrimination in Israeli municipal services towards Palestinian residents.