Two-state so­lu­tion still most pop­u­lar op­tion

The Canadian Jewish News (Toronto) - - International - SUE SURKES JERUSALEM

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

WISAM HASHLAMOUN/FLASH90 PHOTO

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.

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