Palestinians and Jordanians seek closer ties, new poll shows

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JERUSALEM — A poll conducted on both sides of the Jordan River indicates that Jordanians want closer ties with Palestinians than Palestinians want with Jordan, but both think some unity is their ultimate goal.

The joint poll, the first of its kind, was conducted by The Center for Palestine Research and Studies in Nablus (CPRS) and the Center for Strategic Studies at Jordan University in Amman (CSS).

CPRS indicated that 79 percent of Palestinians feel a "special relationship with Jordan not found between them and other Arab countries," while CSS in Jordan said the response was 91 percent.

While 86 percent of Jordanians wanted "some kind of unity" with the West Bank and Gaza Palestinians, 74 percent of Palestinians felt the same way toward Jordan.

While Palestinians preferred confederation (61 percent), Jordanians did not much like that idea (17 percent) and preferred complete unity (53 percent), which was accepted by only 25 percent of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians. Confederation of two independent states is the generally expressed goal of the PLO.

In the CPRS poll, 69 percent said they consider relations between the Palestinian Authority and Jordan to be strong or very strong, but 74.8 percent said they think the same way about PA relations with Egypt, and 35 percent said they think relations are "very strong" with Egypt compared to only 16 percent for Jordan. In contrast, PA-Syria relations are considered strong or very strong by 23 percent.

The pro-Egypt sentiment was influenced by the Gazans polled, 80 percent of whom felt strongly about Egypt, while 66 percent had strong feelings for Jordan. West Bankers felt equally warm toward Egypt and Jordan (71.5 percent).

The poll was conducted between October 13-15 among 1,144 people by CPRS and 1,600 people by CSS in Jordan. The margin of error was 3 percent.