Nearly 50% of Palestinians living in Gaza believe the best means of ending the “occupation” is through armed conflict, according to a report released Monday by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR).
According to the survey, 46.3% of Gazans and a third of Palestinians living in the West Bank believe that armed conflict is the best means of ending the conflict.
However, the study also found that almost half (48.9%) of Palestinians still believe in a two-state solution. Strikingly, a greater percentage of Gazans (52.9%) were supportive of such a solution than those living in the West Bank (46.9%).
“The window of opportunity is still open and most Palestinians still agree to the two-state solution, while recognizing the rights of both people,” said Gadi Baltiansky, director-general of the Geneva Initiative in Israel, an NGO that promotes a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians using diplomatic, political, educational and public tools. “Young people are more likely to support one state, which means the end of Zionism – and therefore a serious political process is not only critical, it is also urgent.”
The new poll, overseen by Dr. Khalil Shikaki, was taken in late June and asked questions of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.
According to Shikaki, support for a two-state solution increased slightly overall to 55% if both countries recognize the equal rights of their citizens and each side will make the necessary reforms to serve peace.
“Most Palestinians will support the solution even when it includes recognition of the religious and cultural ties of the three religions to the land, and each side will declare an end to the claims on the other,” the organization explained in a statement.
The Palestinian-Israeli Pulse report, published in December by PSR found that between 2016 and 2018, support for a two-state solution fell steadily on both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides, and that the past decade has witnessed significant hardening of views among Palestinians and Israelis.
During the period between 2006 and June 2018, support for a two-state solution dropped from 71% among Palestinians to 43%, according to PSR. There was a parallel although less steep drop in Israeli support, from 68% to 49%. According to Pulse, this is the lowest level of support 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 being conducted by Shikaki.
The new poll also asked questions about whether the Palestinians support the Arab Peace Initiative for ending the Arab-Israeli conflict. Some 48% of Palestinians expressed support, while 45.4% expressed opposition.
“The Palestinian public is a partner for peace, even if those who reject the agreement on our side will try to argue the opposite,” PSR said in a statement. “In our activity, which continues all the time regardless of the political developments in our country, more and more Israelis are meeting with Palestinians and are seeing with their own eyes.”