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Poll reveals majority of Israelis, Palestinians in favor of two-state solution

Obama 'committed to two-state solution' for Israel, Palestinians: Kerry
AFP
Despite majority in favor of two states, large majority skeptical that it will happen in the next five years

A joint Palestinian-Israeli poll revealed on Thursday, a majority of Israelis and just under half of Palestinians were in favor of a two-state solution, but less than half agreed with the framework outlined to implement the solution.

The poll funded by the European Union (EU) and published by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research (TSC), Tel Aviv University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, determined that the majority of Palestinians and Israelis would be in favor of a peace agreement to end the longstanding conflict if “offered additional symbolic or concrete incentives.”

The joint poll, the Palestinian-Israeli Pulse, surveyed 1,270 Palestinians and 1,207 Israelis in December 2016 to gauge public opinion on a comprehensive peace agreement as well as to measure levels of general mistrust and fear between the two peoples.

The series of polls have a 3 percent margin of error.

AHMAD GHARABLI (AFP)

55 percent of Israelis and 44 percent of Palestinians supported a two-state solution while 36 percent of Palestinians, 19 percent of Israeli Jews, and 56 percent of Israeli Arabs supported a one-state solution.

However the poll also revealed that Israelis underestimated the amount of support for a two-state solution by other Israelis, 63 percent believing that the majority were opposed to the two-state solution.

Despite a large number in favor, over 80 percent of Israeli Jews and 72 percent of Palestinians do not believe a Palestinian state will be established in the next five years.

Those most in favor of a one-state solution, which would see Palestinians and Jews as “citizens of the same state and enjoy equal rights,” were Israeli Arabs at 56 percent.

THOMAS COEX (AFP/File)

Two-thirds of Israeli Jews were against annexation of the West Bank, “without granting Palestinians their full citizen rights.” Only 31 percent were in favor, 46 percent of which were Israeli settlers, however another 45 percent of settlers were equally opposed to annexation without granting rights to Palestinians.

The poll revealed low levels of mutual trust between Israelis and Palestinians, finding that 86 percent of Palestinians feel Israeli Jews are “untrustworthy” and 71% of Israeli Jews felt they do not trust Palestinians. A further 66 percent of Israeli Jews reported feeling “ fear towards the Palestinians,” including Israeli Arabs who are citizens. Among settlers, 72 percent reported feeling fear towards Palestinians..

Among the Palestinians, less than half said they fear Israeli Jews, at 43 percent, but 52 percent were fearful of soldiers and armed settlers. 82 percent of Israeli Arabs said they do not feel fear toward Israeli Jews.

The poll also included a survey of the public opinion on the Trump administration. Most Palestinians and Israelis agreed, prior to his taking office, Donald Trump would most likely side with Israel on the conflict.

SAUL LOEB (AFP)

Both sides revealed low expectations on the progress of the peace process under the new administration, with 10 percent of Palestinians believing he would renew negotiations, and one-quarter of Israelis.

The results of the poll comes just after Trump met with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House on Wednesday, in which he avoided taking any definitive stance on the burning issue, stating he could "live with" either a two- or a one-state solution.

"I'm looking at two state and one state, and I like the one that both parties like,” he said in a joint press conference ahead of the closed-door meeting.

There has since been an outpouring of criticism, suggesting Trump backed down from the White House's longstanding commitment to implementing a two-state solution in the region.

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