Public opinion is valued when it comes to the various Palestinian leaderships. Examples include shutting down Al Jazeera for an unflattering personality profile of then-President Yasser Arafat in 2001. Public opinion forced it back on the air. In conservative Gaza, Hamas banned “Speak, Bird, Speak Again: A book of Palestinian folk tales” from school libraries in 2007. Public opinion forced the ban to be lifted.
Monitoring public opinion through polls is conducted by a few different centers. The poll topics include the peace process, economics, gender issues, and more.
First, there is the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center (JMCC). JMCC is the first institution in the Arab world to conduct public opinion surveys in Palestine. Since 1993, JMCC has conducted countless surveys “to enhance public participation in the decision-making process by making the public’s views available to decision-makers, and, also, to enable academics, researchers, and others to use scientifically collected data in their studies and policy projects.” For more info, please see: http://www.jmcc.org/.
Second, there is the Palestine Center for Public Opinion (PCPO). The PCPO not only interprets and makes recommendations after the results, but it also holds workshops and seminars to discuss results of PCPO’s activities. They also conduct various studies of issues pertaining to the Palestinian working class. See http://www.pcpo.ps/ for more info.
The third polling center is the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PRS). Like the JMCC and PCPO, PRS tracks public opinion with the hopes of enriching civic participation. However, the center also focuses on Palestinian-American and Palestinian-European relationships. This includes the areas of economics and security. To check out the website, go to: http://www.pcpsr.org/index.html