WASHINGTON – A new poll finds that 85 percent of the Arab world would
agree to a
two-state solution with Israel and a plurality endorse a negotiated
though most doubt that such an outcome will happen.
Though 85% of those
surveyed in six Arab countries said they were willing to support peace
two-state solution in which Israel returned to the 1967 lines, including
Jerusalem, 55% thought Israel would not agree to give up the necessary
territory, according to a poll by the Brookings Saban Center’s Shibley
Telhami, which was conducted by the University of Maryland in conjunction with Zogby International.
Only 14% said Arabs should continue to fight even if Israel returned to
Accepting Israel as the Jewish state
Poll: 71.5% Israelis favor peace talks
In terms of creating such a state, 39% said it would be achieved
through serious negotiations, with smaller numbers answering the US or UN would
have to impose a solution and 16% saying through force. Of the issues most
important to resolve, the majority (54%) gave the creation of a fully contiguous
state in the West Bank and Gaza, with 31% choosing Arab sovereignty over east
Jerusalem and 21% choosing resolving the refugee issue.
question, 54% of those polled said they didn’t believe there would ever be peace
between Israelis and Palestinians, though 40% said it was possible if given more
than five years to accomplish.
“Clearly the majority of the Arab public
is prepared to accept in principle” a two-state solution, said Telhami, who
noted the numbers are at peak levels.
He found even larger shifts of
opinion on attitudes towards the United States and Iran.
While in 2009,
45% held favorable views of Obama, this summer that number was down to 20%,
while those with negative views grew from 23% to 62%.
The numbers were
almost exactly the same when it came to how hopeful they felt about Obama’s
policy on the Mideast.
“The bulk of the shift in attitudes toward the
is due to disappointment on this central issue,”
Telhami said, referring to the Israeli- Palestinian issue, which was the issue
pointed to most by those polled. “This is the prism through which the Arabs view
At the same time, attitudes towards Iran had shifted as
Though more of the Arab world than ever before (57%) believe that
Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program, 77% said Teheran had the right to do
so with only 20% saying it should be pressured to stop, in contrast to a split
of 53-40 last year.
“This is highly correlated to how they feel about the
US,” Telhami assessed of various attitudes discerned in the poll toward Iran.
“It’s mostly a reaction, a venting, an expression of anger [over] US foreign
The poll is conducted annually across six countries – Egypt,
Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Overall, 3,976 people were
interviewed; the margin of error was +/- 1.6%. The surveys were conducted
between June 29 and July 20.