Two-state solution still most popular option
About half of Israelis and Palestinians still back a two-state solution to the conflict, although support is dipping, a survey published on Feb. 16 found.
Pollsters said that 55 per cent of Israelis and 44 per cent of Palestinians still favour the principle of a two-state solution, down from 59 per cent of Israelis and 51 per cent of Palestinians asked the same question in June 2016. A majority of Israeli Arabs, however, oppose a two-state solution, instead favouring a single state or a confederation.
When respondents were given details of what such a deal would entail, based on draft two-state solutions presented during real past negotiations, support for it dropped to 42 per cent among Palestinians and 48 per cent among Israelis (41 per cent among Jews, and 88 per cent among Arab citizens of Israel).
The theoretical proposal included a demilitarized Palestinian state, Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines, land swaps, the return of 100,000 Palestinian refugees to Israeli territory, the recognition of west Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and east Jerusalem as the Palestinian one (with the Old City being split between the two) and a declaration that the conflict had come to an end.
When other conditions were introduced to respondents, the picture began to change.
“When those who opposed such an agreement were asked about a range of additional incentives to the original package, the findings showed significant potential for greater support,” the pollsters said in a press release. “Certain incentives were offered separately to Jewish Israelis, Arab Israelis and Palestinians, and several identical or similar items were asked of all populations.”
The prospect of a regional agreement involving Israel and the Arab world persuaded 30 per cent of Israeli Jews and 28 per cent of Palestinians who had opposed previous draft agreements to indicate support. Ultimately, a two-state solution arrived at within the broader context of a regional deal would be supported by 57 per cent of Palestinians and 58 per cent of Israeli Jews.
The survey was conducted by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research, Tel Aviv University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, and was funded by the European Union. It was carried out in December 2016 among 1,270 Palestinians and 1,207 Israelis and has a margin of error of three per cent.
In all the scenarios presented in the survey, the two-state solution was more popular than the alternatives. Just 24 per cent of Israelis favoured a one-state solution, with 28 per cent favouring some kind of confederation. Both those options attracted just over a third of Palestinians.
On issues of mutual trust, a massive 86 per cent of Palestinians believed that they could not trust Israeli Jews, with 71 per cent of Jews saying they were unable to trust Palestinians.
Two-thirds of Israeli Jews said they were frightened of Palestinians while 43 per cent of Palestinians said they feared Israeli Jews in general. Just over half (51 per cent) of Palestinians admitted being scared of soldiers and armed settlers. By contrast, 82 per cent of Israeli Arabs said they were not frightened of Israeli Jews at all.
Israelis and Palestinians were in agreement that the new Trump administration tends to favour Israel in the conflict. Most were not hopeful about progress toward peace.
Times of Israel Timesofisrael.com
Palestinians pass by Israeli border police as they cross the checkpoint in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on their way to the Al-aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City. A recent poll showed about half of Israelis and Palestinians favour a two-state solution.