Palestinian Public Opinion and its Impact on the Determination of Political Orientations of Decision-Makers and the Process of Making the Palestinian Political Decision

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Firas Abdullah Ahmad Islaih
Palestinian Public Opinion and its Impact on the Determination of Political Orientations of Decision-Makers and the Process of Making the Palestinian Political Decision1.14 MB
Public opinion is considered one of the essential and fundamental matters in the process of the political movement of any political system. Public opinion interact interchangeably with political decision makers, where it affects and is affected. However, this process of influence and vulnerability is not stable and similar in the different political systems, there are some countries and political systems that give public opinion a wide area of movement and freedom, and enables it to strongly and effectively influence the political system and its different components. There are political systems and countries that narrow this space of movement and the interaction of public opinion, as they deprive it from its right to influence the political participation, its impact on the ruling regime and to deliver its orientations and aspirations to the decision makers. Between this and that, the political systems are classified according to how they deal with public opinion. This study will examine the reciprocal relationship between public opinion and the political decision makers in Palestine, in order to reach a clear perception of the nature of that relationship, and its affect on the political decision makers, and to clarify the role of the Palestinian political decision-makers in determining the Palestinian public opinion trends, and the response of it. In order to access this, the researcher worked on the study and analysis of the Palestinian public opinion from different sides. Based on the foregoing, the basic assumption of the study assumed that the Palestinian public opinion is made by the Palestinian political leadership in decision-making positions, both of the parties and formal authority, which control their formation and determine their orientations. Another sub-assumption was branched From this basic assumption, namely, that the Palestinian public opinion in general can be considered a Leaded Public Opinion, as it can be steered easily, controlled in accordance with the directions of some elite groups existing in the Palestinian political reality. To indicate the validity of those assumptions, the researcher adopted the descriptive analytical approach in the study and analysis of the different components of the study. The researcher conducted a descriptive and analytical process of a group of prominent and essential events that occurred during the period covered by the research, and that has a close relationship and significant influence on the subject of the research. This study has addressed the Palestinian public opinion and its impact on the directions of the political decision-makers, within the time period from 1993 to 2006. The focus was made on this period (1993-2006) because many fundamental changes in Palestinian political life occurred during it, the most noticeable events are: the mutual recognition between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel, the Convention on the Declaration of Principles in Oslo, first and second presidential and legislative elections and the death of Palestinian President (leader) Yasser Arafat. The spatial boundaries of the study were limited to the study and analysis of the subject of study in the 1967 Palestinian occupied territories. The study was divided into five chapters, the first chapter dealt with the structure of research, including study of the problem of content, relevance, objectives, questions, assumptions and methodology, spatial and temporal boundaries, tools and as well as a review of previous studies, on the subject of study. Chapter II reveals the theoretical framework of the research. The researcher reviewed different definitions of public opinion. The researcher also addressed types , divisions , characteristics , mechanisms and main factors that affect the formation of public opinion. Chapter III of the study dealt with the Palestinian public opinion , its characteristics and its different components. The researcher clarified the major factors which affect the Palestinian public opinion. The major highlighted factors are the political culture, political parties and organizations and the Palestinian media. In chapter IV of the study, the researcher proceeded to discuss the impact of Palestinian public opinion on political decision makers. He clarified the traditional activities of the most prominent methods and techniques used by public opinion to influence the orientation of political decision-makers. The researcher worked on concluding and clarifying the strengths and weakness points of the Palestinian public opinion. Also, the researcher clarified the effectiveness of the public opinion in manipulating these methods and techniques. In the latter part of the study, the researcher addressed the issue of elites in general and the political elites in particular. The researcher studied and analyzed the Palestinian political decision-makers point of view towards public opinion and how they evaluate it. That was achieved through the analysis of a series of interviews conducted by the researcher with a number of Palestinian political decision makers, From the foregoing, the researcher concluded a set of conclusions and answers to the assumptions of the study. It was revealed that the Palestinian public opinion is predominantly a leaded general opinion, which is driven, leaded and affected by the centers of power and influence in the different Palestinian political system, and therefore the influence on the Palestinian public opinion on the political decision makers is weak, poor and limited. However, in despite of this, the researcher sees that the Palestinian public opinion has a number of strength points that entitles it to play a vital and active role in the political life. In order to achieve this, there must be concerted efforts and sincere hard working at all different levels to develop and activate the role of public opinion in political life. We must work hard on increasing the degree of awareness towards the Palestinian public opinion and what encounters it. We must increase its degree of participation in the institutions of civil work, and raising the level of confidence in the ability of it in changing. We must go ahead with the development process of the Palestinian curriculum. This will represent a real momentum towards the improvement and development of the community's awareness and political orientations towards more democracy and partnership.