The Middle East Public Opinion Project (MEPOP) is a research-based project at the a University of Washington Bothell that conducts original studies and collects rmpirical data that explores the public opinion and atttitudes of the Arab world on a wide range of socio-economic and political issues, of local, regional, and global importance.
The Middle East remains one of the most volatile regions in the world. Now more than ever, the importance of understanding the public opinion of Arab societies is of absolute necessity, especially after the start of the Arab revolts, and the subsequent volatility that ensured. Empirical public opinion data remains scarce, and unreliable. The Middle East Public Opinion Project (MEPOP), is a University of Washington Bothell-based project that aims at designing and implanting empirical studies. The data is meant to serve as a reliable scientific public opinion data from the Middle East. Currently, data is being collected on a project-by-project basis, pending funding for these projects.
The inaugural project was implemented in the West Bank, Palestine, to measure Palestinian society’s opinions on the Oslo Accords. This first study conducted by MEPOP was in the West Bank in the summer of 2013. An original survey that investigates the opinions of Palestinians in relation to the Oslo Accords twenty years after it was signed.
Twenty Years After Olso: The Palestinian Public Opinion and Attitudes Project
Twenty years after it was signed, has the Oslo Accords failed? Will Palestinians and Israelis ever have a working peace agreement? What do Palestinians think about the most appropriate way to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict: One state for all, or two states for two people? Is there a relationship between Palestinian religiosity and support for American intervention in the Palestinian territories? These are some of the questions explored by the Palestinian Public Opinion and Research Project, which examines the successes and failures of the Oslo Accords, and assesses whether the US has a significant role to play now and in the future.
In addition, the opinions of Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are explored on a wide range of issues and events, which provides a barometer of Palestinian feelings and attitudes towards specific local, regional, and global issues.
Since it was signed on September 13th, 1993, the Oslo Accords was meant to end the Palestinian Israeli conflict. A decades-long conflict that has left scores of people displaced, imprisoned, tortured, wounded, and killed, was about to be part of a historical memory, and a Palestinian State was to be established within five years after the signing of the accords. A peace process that was fostered by an American diplomatic intervention that led to the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the State of Israel to recognize one another as legitimate representatives of their own societies, signaling a new era of negotiations. It did not take long for the Oslo Accords to officially be declared dead.
Twenty years later, and with the generous support of the Worthington Scholarship Fund, the Palestinian Public Opinion and Attitudes Project is based on an original public opinion survey that explores general Palestinian attitudes on different socio-political and economic issues, as well as testing a number of hypotheses and measuring popular opinions related to the political realities of Palestinian political life.
The survey was conducted in the West Bank only (including East Jerusalem). Similar survey will be conducted in the Gaza Strip in the coming months. In addition to questions related to Palestinian socio-political and economic issues related to the Oslo Accords, Palestinians were asked about their feelings towards western states and societies. This is in an attempt to explore whether a causal mechanism exists that might explain variations in Palestinian opinions vis-à-vis the “West” both as societies and states.
This project was generously supported by the Worthington Scholar Research Grant.
To Be Involved With MEPOP:
This is an ongoing project, and those who have comments, or would like to be part of these efforts, should contact Professor Karam Dana (firstname.lastname@example.org), the Principal Investigator of the Middle East Public Opinion Project (MEPOP).
Director and Principal Investigator:
Karam Dana, Ph.D. --University of Washington—Bothell