Poll indicates majority supports two-states, but not on previous negotiations
Published in The Jerusalem Post on August 22, 2016.
A majority of Palestinians and Israelis still support the two-state solution, a new poll found.
Fifty-one percent of Palestinians and 59% of Israelis back the two-state solution, despite the recent stagnation in the peace process, according to a poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Polling and Survey Research (PCPSR) and the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI).
However, when the pollsters presented respondents with a hypothetical peace agreement based on previous negotiations, only 39% of Palestinians and 46% of Israelis supported it.
The hypothetical deal included mutual recognition, a demilitarized Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with land swaps, the establishment of a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem and an Israeli capital in West Jerusalem, and the return of 100,000 refugees to Israel based on family reunification.
Among Israeli Jews, 10% of the Right, 59% of the center, and 88% of the Left supported the proposed deal, while 56% of seculars and 10% of religious backed it.
Interestingly, 90% of Arab-Israelis supported the proposed deal.
As for the Palestinians, 64% of the non-religious and 34% of the religious supported the proposed deal, whereas 57% of Fatah and 25% of Hamas supporters backed it.
Yet, a number of Palestinians and Israelis changed their minds when provided with incentives to support the proposed deal.
Twenty-six percent of Israelis said they would change their minds, if the proposed peace deal included peace with all Arab nations in the framework of the Arab Peace Initiative.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he is open to the idea of amending the API. He told a press conference in late May: “We are willing to negotiate with the Arab states’ revisions to that initiative so that it reflects the dramatic changes in the region since 2002.”
For their part, 34% of Palestinians said they would change their minds if Israel acknowledged responsibility for creating the refugee problem.
The poll also found that 44% of Palestinians prefer a multilateral forum in which world powers sponsor negotiations in comparison to 27% of Israeli Jews. Moreover, 22% of Palestinians support bilateral negotiations in relation to 41% of Israeli Jews.
The Palestinian leadership has recently stated its strong support of a French initiative to hold an international peace conference, while Israel has fervently opposed it.
Furthermore, the poll revealed that an overwhelming majority on both sides do not trust each other.
Eighty-nine percent of Palestinians said Israeli Jews are untrustworthy and 68% of Israeli Jews said Palestinians likewise cannot be trusted.
Tamar Hermann, the academic director of the IDI’s Guttman Center for Surveys, told a press conference at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem that despite the recent violence, the poll does not point to the death of the peace process. “The findings do not indicate that we have reached a point of no return,” she said.
Khalil Shikaki, the director of the PCPSR, largely agreed with Hermann.
“The findings are certainly not encouraging, but by no means are they discouraging. They leave room for us as researchers to see if we can bring these two publics closer together in terms of reaching a permanent agreement through various incentives.”