In the wake of last month’s deadly raid on the Gaza-bound protest flotilla,
Israelis and Palestinians alike are increasingly doubtful that a Palestinian
state can be achieved, according to a joint Israeli-Palestinian poll released on
Two-thirds of the Israeli and Palestinian participants said the
chances for an independent Palestinian state within the next five years were
low, if not nonexistent.
“The pessimism on both sides regarding the
establishment of a Palestinian state is striking,” said Hebrew
Prof. Ya’acov Shamil, who directed the Israeli polling. “There are
now, but neither population believes in them.”
demonstrated a surge of support for Turkey, which has strongly
Israel’s involvement in the death of nine Turkish men on the flotilla.
Palestinians, 43 percent said Turkey was the regional country most
the Palestinian cause.
Perhaps surprisingly for many Israelis, fewer than
6% of the Palestinians expressed similar confidence in Iran or Syria,
those nations’ aggressive stances toward Israel.
The poll, conducted June
6-16, was carried out by a joint initiative between the Palestinian
Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah and the Harry S. Truman Research
Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of
Since the breakdown of the Oslo Accords in 2000, the pollsters
have measured Israeli and Palestinian sentiment regarding current events
long-term political atmosphere.
According to Shamil, the survey is one of
the only joint Israeli-Palestinian academic initiatives that survived
The two organizations polled the two populations separately,
coordinating on specific questions to ask of both groups. The sample
1,270 Palestinians from the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza
Despite the years since the end of the second intifada, the
strains between the two populations remain glaring.
Among Israelis, 58%
said they were worried that they or their families might be harmed by
their daily lives, while 74% of Palestinians said they or their families
danger from Israelis.
More than half of the Palestinians supported
nonviolent resistance, while 44% were for the resumption of an armed
But overcoming a general cynicism, both Israelis and
Palestinians demonstrated an increased willingness to compromise.
fact, according to the poll, 50% of Israelis support direct talks with
order to reach an agreement. In a testament to some of the
abound, the survey also found that 61% of Israelis incorrectly believe
majority of the Israeli public opposes such negotiations.
also more likely to support what are known as the Clinton Parameters,
by then-US president Bill Clinton following the unsuccessful Camp David
that included Clinton, then-prime minister Ehud Barak and
Authority president Yasser Arafat.
The Clinton Parameters proposed a
two-state approach that incorporated a divided Jerusalem and the concept
land-swap, in which Israel would retain certain settlements in exchange
Israeli territorial concessions.
Forty-nine percent of Palestinians
supported this solution, and 52% of Israelis voiced approval, a 6
point increase from last year’s figure.
Only in 2003 did both populations
express majority support for the proposal.
According to Shamil, the
increase in Israeli support for the Clinton Parameters reflects an ease
tensions after several years of relative peace, as well as developing
in the West Bank.
“The public is responding to this,” he said, describing
the change in public opinion as a small step toward what he viewed as
“The Clinton Parameters, one way or another, will be
part of a final agreement,” he said. “Everybody knows what the solution
the question is only how much blood will be shed until then.”
He said the
small steps toward compromise were visible on both sides of the
In particular, Shamil stressed the Palestinians’ rebuff of the
one-state solution, a politically edgy proposal that the Palestinian
has recently been supporting and that would challenge the Jewish
majority of a
In a reversal of increased Palestinian support for the
proposal over the past year, the most recent survey showed that only 27%
Palestinians support it today – a 3 percentage point drop from the March
“People are smart and can make sense of the situation and daily
life, and they know that it is very difficult for such a solution to
Shamil, who teaches a public polling course at the Hebrew University.
I tell my students, you should not think that people are stupid.”