Joint Opinion Poll: Palestinian-Israeli Pulse
Support for the two-state solution in principle falls below half for Palestinians and Israeli Jews. Palestinian attitudes become more pessimistic in general and support for militancy rose following US President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; Israeli Jews show incremental erosion of support over time. Although only a minority of Israelis and Palestinians support the detailed package for implementation – 40% of Palestinians and 43% of Israelis (just 35% among Jews) – the opposition is still flexible: a package of incentives tested among those opposed to the solution showed that nearly half of Jews and 40% of Palestinians might change their minds to support the agreement under the right conditions, bringing support to a majority on both sides. Obstacles to support for two states are low perceptions of feasibility, low trust, and high portions who think the other side does not want peace.
25 January, 2018 --------- Only a minority of both Israeli Jews and Palestinians (46% each) support the concept of a two-state solution. Support among Palestinians dropped six points from June 2017, while Israeli Jewish support for this approach remains almost unchanged. With 83% support, Israeli Arabs show the highest support for the concept. A 9-point final status package that implements the concept of the two-state solution show a drop in Palestinian support from 43% six months ago to 40% in the current poll. Among Israeli Jews, support increases from 32% to 35% but this is a significant decline from June 2016 (when 48% supported it). At present, 43% of all Israelis support the package, compared to 41% in June 2017.
Additional policy incentives were effective at changing the minds of those who were opposed to a detailed two-state plan, and generating majority support. For both sides, a single measure that provides for a democratic nature of the future Palestinian state is sufficient to insure a majority support. Moreover, were Israel to recognize the Nakba and the suffering of refugees, a large minority of Palestinians who opposed the package would change the minds; the same is true for Israeli Jews, if the agreement allows Jews to visit the Temple Mount/al Haram al Sharif. When added to the original supporters, they raise total support to a significant majority.
However, large portions on both sides believe that settlements have expanded so much that the two-state solution is no longer viable: nearly half of Israeli Jews and 60% Palestinians. Large majorities on both sides believe the other side is untrustworthy. The perceived lack of feasibility and the lack of trust are closely connected to opposition to the plan. Findings also show decline in the percentage of Israeli Jews and Palestinians who think the other side wants peace.
These are the findings of the new Palestinian-Israeli Pulse: A Joint Poll, published today by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research (TSC), Tel Aviv University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah, with funding from the European Union (EU), the Netherlands Representative Office in Ramallah, and the UNDP office on behalf of the Representative Office of Japan to Palestine.
The poll was conducted in December 2018 among representative samples of 1,270 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and 900 Israelis, with oversamples of settlers and Arab citizens. The margin of error is +/-3% for both. The survey tested the details of a permanent peace agreement, incentives for those who are opposed; perceptions of the other, and alternate scenarios to the two-state solution, including both equal and unequal versions of one state, and a confederation of two states. The following summary has been drafted by Dr. Khalil Shikaki and Walid Ladadwa from PSR, and Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin, with the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research and its director, Dr. Ephraim Lavie.
Detailed Findings: When presented with a 9-point peace agreement package based on previous rounds of negotiations, Israeli Jewish support rose by three points from June (from 32% to 35% at present). One year ago, 48% of all Israelis (Jews and Arabs) supported the package, while at present 43% support it. 54% of Israeli Jews are opposed to the package. On the Palestinian side, support for the implementation package dropped from 43% last June to 40% today. A year ago (December 2016), 42% of the Palestinians supported the package. Current opposition to the package among Palestinians stand at 57%. The current decline in support among the Palestinians is accompanied by a drop in support for the concept of the two-state solution, closely linked to a perceived decline in the viability of that solution. The decline in viability is probably due to the announcement by president Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The 9-point peace plan included a de-militarized Palestinian state, and Israeli withdrawal to pre-June 1967 lines with equal territorial exchange, family unification in Israel of 100,000 Palestinian refugees, West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine (the Old City divided among the two sides), and the end of the conflict and claims.
However, testing additional incentives to convince those who were opposed revealed significant potential to increase support, and indicates that for many, opposition is conditional, not absolute. The most effective incentives included:
Reasons for doubts. Large portions do not believe the two-state solution is feasible. A small majority of Palestinians (60%) and a large minority of Israeli Jews (42%) believe that the two-state solution is no longer viable due to settlement expansion. On both sides, roughly three-quarters believe the chances that a Palestinian state emerging next to Israel in the next five years is low or non-existent (75% of Palestinians and 73% of Israeli Jews). This finding is very stable.
The second main reason involves lack of trust in the other side and a zero-sum dynamic, or the belief that whatever is good for one side is bad for the other. Less than one-fifth of Israeli Jews trust Palestinians and only 9% of Palestinians trust Israeli Jews. Further, only 30% of Israeli Jews and 37% of Palestinians think the majority on the other side wants peace. Just over half of Israeli Jews (51%) and 72% of Palestinians, nearly three-quarters, think the conflict is zero-sum.
Alternatives. To understand the preferred scenarios among those who do not support a two-state solution, three alternatives were tested: (1) One equal state, (2) one unequal state (apartheid), and (3) an extreme scenario in which one side expels the other. Once those who support a two-state solution are separated from the analysis, the maximum number who support each of these alternatives ranges between 10% and 15%, from each population. When asked separately about a confederation between two states, Israel and Palestine, 28% of Palestinians, 33% of Israeli Jews, and 70% of Israeli Arabs support it.