RESULTS FROM THE 3rd ROUND of CITIZEN NEGOTIATIONS September 2004
From the throes of chaos and despair, a clear message from the Israeli and Palestinian people is emerging: deep thirst for a working compromise. Below is a summary of results from the third round of citizen negotiations that culminated this summer with over 113,000 participants, the largest-ever aggregation of
ordinary citizens to jointly and actively forge a mandate on how to resolve the conflict.
Consensus Emerges During Third Round of Citizen Negotiations
Citizens' Feedback Yields Broader Support for Key Proposals
Breakthrough Agreement on Settlements
More Pragmatism in Palestinian Villages and Refugee camps than in cities
Consensus Emerges During Third Round of OneVoice Palestinian-Israeli Citizen Negotiations. Escalating tensions and violence provoked by a minority of extremists have thus far obfuscated the will of the silent majority. And yet, amidst unbearable pain, voices from the ground are clearly demanding a resolution to the conflict. In the latest round of public negotiations, citizen negotiators achieved consensus on all ten issues before them. Over 40,000 Israelis and Palestinians participated in this third round, for an aggregate total of 113,000 (58,000 Palestinian, 55,000 Israeli). Overall a trend towards increased consensus was noticeable among this round of citizen negotiations, though on some proposals the consensus slightly decreased.
73% of Israelis and Palestinians affirmed the proposal on „Two States for two peoples" in this round, compared to 75.6% in the second round. Proposals on „Holy Sites‟, "End to Terror and Occupation, and „Education and Reconciliation all continued to receive high supportabove 70%. Proposals on Security, and „End of Conflict" received support above 63%. But sharp increases in overall consensus were noticeable on some of the thorniest issues, including on Jerusalem (59% support vs. 50% in the prior round), Borders (68% support vs. 63% in the prior round), and
most remarkably on Settlements, (65% support vs. 40% average support in the prior round). Detailed breakdowns below.
Citizens' Feedback Yields Broader Support for Key Proposals. The content of most proposals remained unchanged, though some changes were made to the Settlements and
Borders proposals at negotiations among Israeli and Palestinian experts last summer where the feedback from the prior round was analyzed.
The OneVoice methodology allows citizens not just to register their votes but actually to influence and mold the language of the proposals in question. In other words, the interactive and iterative nature of the popular negotiations provides the people a chance to influence the content on which they are voting. This is one of the greatest strengths of the process: that the content of the proposals gathers unassailable moral authority as it is forged through a participatory democratic process that broadens consensus as popular feedback is integrated.
Breakthrough Agreement on Settlement Language: Specifically on the Settlement proposal, the prior formulation had gained little traction with the Palestinian population, and citizens on both sides had complained it was not clear or specific enough. The language was firmed up to clarify that “settlements will be evacuated and that land exchanges along the borders will permit inclusion of a limited number of settlement blocks.” Whereas only 23% of Palestinians supported the Settlements proposal in the second round, 67.8% of Palestinians supported it in the third round (and 32.2% disapproved). Israeli numbers were not significantly affected (support in the second round was 65%, and decreased slightly to 62% in the third round). In addition to clearer language that the people suggested, training was enhanced so field workers could better explain the OneVoice methodology and clarify the content: that all settlements would be evacuated, with the exception that a small number of settlement blocks along the border could be incorporated by Israel in exchange for agreed-on land swaps, close to the Clinton Camp David parameters, which ultimately met majority approval from both sides.
More Pragmatism in Palestinian Villages and Refugee camps than in big cities: Almost across the board, Palestinian voters living in refugee camps and small villages were more conciliatory than those living in larger cities. For example, the settlement proposal was affirmed by only 58% of Palestinians living in cities, compared to 70.4% living in villages, and 72.9% living in refugee camps. The proposal to „End Occupation and Terror‟(Do you agree that Israels hould completely end the occupation, within the context of a comprehensive peace agreement and a cessation of all terror and violence on both sides, at which time all political prisoners will also be released?)" received 75.9% support in cities, 79.8% support in villages and 88% affirmation in refugee camps. Dr.Fathi Darwish, OneVoice Palestinian Executive Director stated that „This highlights the importance of involving the people in the camps and the villages, who have been neglected and ignored in the past. They want a better future with dignity for everyone. They are part of the solution.” Voters in Qalqilya, Tulkarem ,and Jenin were consistently more pragmatic than average. On „Two States", 75.3% of Jenin residents, 94.5% in Tulkarem, and 84.8% of Qalqilyians affirmed, compared to the Palestinian average of 72%. Palestinians in Bethlehem and Jericho proved more recalcitrant (59.7% and 53.3% respectively affirming it). On the critical Settlements Proposal, an average 67.8% of Palestinians supported it, compared to 78.9% in Tulkarem, 76.2% in Qalqilya, 61% in Bethlehem, 62% in Hebron, 64.7% in Salfeet, 68.1% in Ramallah, and 63.5% in Jenin.
Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem were most pragmatic on some issues but more intransigent on others. They approved proposals on Two States (85.4%), Borders (81.9%), and End to Occupation and Terror (85%) overwhelmingly, but only 54.3% approved the Settlements proposal and 55% the Jerusalem Proposal, below the Palestinian average of 64.9%. While OneVoice does its utmost to provide a balanced voting process among all voters, it is possible and likely that District leaders and field outreach supervisors influence where their volunteers do their canvassing so the above cannot be considered authoritative samples. While the above data is useful, the fundamental goal of OneVoice is not to provide survey data, but to engage citizens on the ground in thinking through these issues and vesting them with the power and responsibility to negotiate with themselves and learn the art of
More resuls at C21.