About two-thirds of the Jewish public in Israel thinks that in September the Palestinian Authority will declare the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and request that the UN General Assembly recognize it, even without an agreement with Israel, according to statistics published by The Peace Index.
The statistics are based on a survey which was conducted by telephone last week by the Dahaf Institute. The survey also found that 56% of the Arab public in Israel sees the chances of this as being low.
Respondents were also asked whether they believe that a General Assembly majority will recognizes the Palestinian state even if Israel opposes the move. The results show that a higher rate (75%) of the Jewish public believes that this will happen, while only 68% of the Arab public foresees a large majority in the General Assembly.
With regards to the question of whether the upcoming declaration of the Palestinian state could have been prevented, the survey found that 55% of the Jews say Israel could not have prevented the declaration even if it had shown greater political flexibility in the past.
Moreover, 60% of them do not think Israel should moderate its positions at this stage so as to prevent the declaration of the Palestinian state. 64% believed that even if Israel significantly moderates its positions, the chances that the PA will not declare an independent state and request UN recognition for it are low. A majority of the Arabs (57%), however, think the declaration could have been prevented if Israeli policy had been more flexible.
Respondents were also asked what they believe will happen after the declaration and the recognition of the Palestinian state. The majority of the Jewish public (64%) believed that the declaration of Palestinian independence and the UN recognition will damage Israeli interests, and an even larger majority (74%) believes that the chances are high that following the recognition, the international community will exert substantial pressures on Israel, such as economic sanctions, in order to force Israel to withdraw from the territories.
The survey also found that 71% of the Jewish public thinks the current Israeli government will not recognize a Palestinian state that is declared unilaterally. A majority of both Jews (57%) and Arabs (60%) believes that, under these circumstances, the U.S. will not recognize the Palestinian state. At the same time, the Jewish public is divided as to whether Israel will or will not be able to allow itself not to recognize an independent Palestinian state: 48% believe it will be able to allow itself to withhold recognition while 47% think it will not. In the Arab public, 53% said Israel will be able to allow itself not to recognize the Palestinian state after it is recognized by the UN.
Participants were asked what they believe will happen in Judea and Samaria after a Palestinian state is recognized. A large majority of both Jews (70%) and Arabs (62%) responded that they think that following the declaration of an independent Palestinian state, the chances are high that an intifada will erupt in the Judea and Samaria. 58% percent of the Jews also believe that the PA leadership will encourage such an intifada.
Finally, respondents were asked about their thoughts regarding Israel negotiating with the PA’s Hamas-Fatah unity government. Here, the results were surprisingly divided: 38% of the Jewish public supported the claim that negotiations can be held even if Hamas is part of the government. 35% said that the inclusion of Hamas in the PA leadership means that Israel cannot negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, while 24% oppose negotiations with the PA whether or not Hamas is part of their government.
In the Arab public, 78% supported negotiating with a unity government that includes Hamas.
The Peace Index is a project of the Evens Program for Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute. The survey was conducted a few days before President Barack Obama’s speech on U.S. policy in the Middle East last Thursday. It included 600 respondents who constitute a representative sample of the adult Jewish population of Israel.