Israeli-Palestinian support for two states at 20-year low, poll says

The data is “the lowest in more than a decade, when a steady decline in support began, and the lowest in almost two decades of joint Palestinian-Israeli survey research.”

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August 14, 2018 02:43
4 minute read.
A Palestinian protester burns a replica Israeli flag as another holds a Palestinian flag

A Palestinian protester burns a replica Israeli flag as another holds a Palestinian flag during clashes with the Israeli troops near the Jewish settlement of Bet El, near the West Bank city of Ramallah October 18, 2015.. (photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)

 
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Support for a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the lowest point in two decades, according to new polling data released on Monday by two academicians.

Only 49% of Israelis – both Jews and Arabs – and 43% of Palestinians support the idea, according to a poll conducted at the end of June. In 2010, the percentages were much higher, at 71% and 57% respectively. A look at the June data for Israelis Jews alone shows that their support also drops to 43%.

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Similarly, 56% of the Palestinians and 47% of Israeli Jews felt that a two-state solution was not viable.

The data was collected by Dr. Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah and Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin from the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University.

They have been conducting a survey – The Palestinian-Israeli Pulse: A Joint Poll – for the last eight years. This latest round of data focuses primarily on a two-year period that marked the transition from the Obama to the Trump administration in the United States and the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The authors have been surveying Israeli-Palestinians attitudes to the two-state solution and the peace process for over two decades. They commented that this particular data set is “the lowest in more than a decade, when a steady decline in support began, and the lowest in almost two decades of joint Palestinian-Israeli survey research.”

Israeli Arabs were strong supporters of the two-state solution two years ago and remained so, in spite of a 5% dip, from 87% to 82%.
Among the surprising pieces of data was the rise in support for that option among the settler population, from 24% to 33% in the last two years, although it dipped below 20% in the interim.

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Israeli Jews were the most pessimistic about the viability of a two-state solution, particularly with regard to settlement expansion, with 81% stating the chances of a Palestinian state next to an Israeli one was low or very low. Some 72% of Palestinians and 63% of Israeli Arabs surveyed felt the same.

The largest drop in the last two years in Israeli Jews’ belief in the viability of a two-state solution, came from the left wing which fell from 83% to 66% and from the centrists who went down from 68% to 60%.

The number of Israeli Jews who hold that a peace agreement is the next best step has held steady at 45% over the last two years as have the 9% who believe that annexation is the preferred option.

There was a slight rise of 18% to 20% among those who hold the status quo should remain in place and a 50% rise from 12% to 18% among those Israeli Jews who think that only a definitive war will end the conflict.

In the year between June 2017 and June 2018, the number of Palestinians who favored a peace agreement dropped from 45% to 41% (bottoming out at 26% in December), while those who favored an armed struggled rose from 22% to 27% (peaking in December at 38%). Support for an unarmed struggle saw a steady rise from 9% to 12% while support for the status quo dropped steadily from 22% to 15% in that one-year period.

The researchers also rated support for other ideas outside of the two-state solution, such as a confederation, which would include residency rights for Israelis within Palestinian areas and vice versa. Some 68% of Israeli Arabs, 31% of Israeli Jews and 30% of Palestinians said they could favor such a plan.

Separately, when asked about other ideas, 19% of Israeli Jews said they liked the idea of one state; 15% supported annexation without full rights for Palestinians; and 8% favored the expulsion of Palestinians altogether.

Correspondingly, only 9% of Palestinians favored the idea of one state; 8%wanted a state in historic Palestine without full rights for Jews; and 17% wanted to see the expulsion of Jews.

The researchers said that half of the respondents were asked about a peace package that included a demilitarized Palestinian state; an Israeli withdrawal to the green line with territorial exchanges; family reunification in Israel of 100,000 Palestinian refugees; and a divided Jerusalem, but with the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall under Israeli sovereignty and the Muslim and Christian quarters as well as the Harm al Sharif/Temple Mount under Palestinian sovereignty.

Some 54% of Israeli Jews and 61% of Palestinians opposed this package. But the pollsters found that when they changed some of the components, the numbers of those who supported or opposed the plan also changed.

The results were based on face-to-face surveys of 2,150 Palestinians from June 25 to July 1 and a telephone survey of 1,600 Israelis from the same start date to July 8.

Palestinians interviewed included 1,403 people in the West Bank and 747 in Gaza, with a margin of error of 3%. The Israeli survey included 1,200 Israeli Jews and 200 Israeli Arabs living within sovereign Israel. Another 200 West Bank settlers were also interviewed as part of the Israeli group. The Israeli data was “re-weighted to reflect the exact proportion size” of the three groups within Israeli society, and had a margin of error of 2.5%.

The project was funded by the European Union, the United Nations and Japan.

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