An average of 84% of Arabs opposes diplomatic recognition of Israel by their countries, according to results from the soon-to-be-released 2022 Arab Opinion Index (AOI). The AOI is an annual series of opinion surveys conducted by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS).
The Arab Center Washington DC (ACW) is an affiliate of the ACRPS. They released some early results of the AOI.
The AOI surveyed Arabs in over a dozen Arab countries, asking participants various questions in face-to-face interviews. The survey included people from Algeria, Mauritania, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Libya, Iraq, Tunisia, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, Libya, and Saudi Arabia.
Would Arabs support or oppose diplomatic recognition of Israel by your country?
Survey participants were asked the question, "would you support or oppose diplomatic recognition of Israel by your country?" Perhaps unsurprisingly, the overwhelming majority responded that they would oppose it. In total, 84% responded in opposition, 8% responded that they would support it, and 8% were unsure or declined to answer.
The most Israel-friendly country included in the survey is Morocco, of whose participants 67% answered in opposition, 20% answered in support, and 13% didn't know or declined to answer.
Conversely, none of the survey participants from Algeria supported diplomatic recognition of Israel while 99% were against it. This is even more extreme than the Palestinian response, 3% of whom supported diplomatic recognition of Israel.
The AOI has been asking the same question to survey participants since 2011 when the survey was first conducted.
Results fluctuate only slightly from year to year with a low of 6% and a high of 9% of people in support of diplomatic recognition of Israel
Perspective on the "Palestinian cause"
Survey participants were also asked if the Palestinian cause concerned all Arabs and not just the Palestinians alone, if the Palestinian cause was solely a Palestinian issue, or if neither of the statements was true.
Again, the overwhelming majority, 76% of the aggregate, responded by saying that the Palestinian cause concerned all Arabs.
Attitudes on US policy concerning Palestinians
People across all the Arab countries surveyed also had a negative view of US policy concerning the Palestinians. In aggregate, 53% had a "very negative" view, 24% had a "negative" view, 8% had a "positive" view, and only 3% had a "very positive" view.
Over the decade since the AOI survey has been conducted, apparently little has changed in Arab attitudes, overall, regarding Israel. However, some have apparently changed. For instance, while 20% of Moroccans surveyed this past year favored diplomatic recognition of Israel, according to the AOI survey of 2019-2020, that percentage was as low as 4% just a couple of years ago.
Morocco is one of the countries party to the Abraham Accords, the historic treaty that normalized relations between Israel and several Arab countries. It joined the accords in December 2020. Survey participants from Sudan, a country that signed onto the Accords in 2021, were the most open to diplomatic recognition of Israel after Morocco with 18% supporting recognition. That is up from the 13% recorded in the 2019-2020 survey. The other Arab signatories to the Abraham Accords, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, were notably absent from the survey.
Additionally, the percentage of Arabs who view the "Palestinian cause" as concerning all Arabs and not just the Palestinians is 3% lower in 2022 than it was in the 2019-2020 survey. Also noteworthy is that, according to the 2019-2020 AOI survey, Palestinians, along with Saudis rated themselves as the least free to criticize their own governments. For Palestinians, this may have referred to either the Palestinian Authority or Hamas, depending on where the survey participant was living.
While overall, the Arab world still does not view Israel positively. However, while the Abraham Accords demonstrate an avenue for Israel to find acceptance from Arab governments, it's possible that the AOI survey could also be understood as a tepid admission that slowly, there is an avenue for Israel to be accepted by the Arab public.
As Netanyahu's newly formed government is just settling into power, it remains to be seen if it will help or hinder that possibility.