U.S. Support for Two States Lowest in 20 Years

A new poll finds that support for a “two-state solution” is less popular in the United States than it has been in at least two decades.

Elad Benari ,

Binyamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama
Binyamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama
Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash 90

Support for a “two-state solution” to solve the Israel-Arab conflict is less popular in the United States than it has been in at least two decades, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Tuesday finds.

While the idea still received 39 percent in support and 36 percent in opposition, it is a far cry from past Gallup polling in which a majority of Americans supported the idea (as many as 58 percent in 2003).

The 39 percent who support the idea is the lowest that number has been in polling on the issue since 1998, and the three-point gap between support and opposition is the smallest in at least two decades.

While 33 percent of independents and Democrats oppose the idea of a “two-state solution”, 50 percent of Republicans oppose it as well. An additional 31 percent of Republicans support the idea, while 41 percent of independents and Democrats do.

The poll comes amid continuing controversy between Israel and the United States around the formation of a Palestinian state.

Prior to his re-election in a landslide victory two weeks ago, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared in a series of interviews he would do everything in his power to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.

He appeared to backtrack after the election, explaining in an interview that he wants “a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution" but adding that his earlier comments were a reflection of changing conditions on the Palestinian side, pointing to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s pact to form a unity government with Hamas.

The White House, however, was not impressed with Netanyahu’s backtracking. President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, in fact, dismissed the comments and bluntly warned Israel that its "occupation of Palestinian land" must end.

Obama’s spokesman also declared that since Netanyahu had said he was no longer committed to the two-state solution, “that means we need to reevaluate our position in this matter, and that is what we will do moving forward."

Obama himself later repeated the same comments, telling The Huffington Post that the White House was "evaluating its options" vis-a-vis imposing a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Asked whether he believed Netanyahu was "serious about a Palestinian state," Obama answered bluntly that "we take him at his word when he said that it wouldn't happen during his prime ministership, and so that's why we've got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don't see a chaotic situation in the region."