What a two-state solution entails
What a two-state solution entails iStock

A small and nearly equal majority of Israelis and Palestinian Arabs back a two-state solution, a new poll shows, but the Arabs’ support is rising.

Support among Israelis is at 53 percent, a decline of 2 percentage points since December, and at 52 percent among Arabs both in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, an increase of 8 points, according to the the "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse: A Joint Poll" published Monday.

Tel Aviv University’s Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah conducted the survey with funding from the European Union and the Netherlands Representative Office in Ramallah.

The poll was conducted in June and early July among representative samples of 1,200 Arabs in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, and 900 Israelis, with an additional sample of Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria and Arab citizens. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent for both.

The survey tested the details of a permanent peace agreement, with 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.

When presented with a peace agreement package based on previous rounds of negotiations – including a demilitarized Palestinian state and Israeli withdrawal to pre-June 1967 lines with land swaps; family unification in Israel of 100,000 Palestinian-Arab refugees; western Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and eastern Jerusalem as the capital of "Palestine," with the Old City divided among the two sides; and the end of the conflict and claims — overall Israeli support declined to 41 percent from 46 percent in December, with backing among Jewish Israelis falling to 32 percent from 41 percent. Arab support rose 4 percent to 43 percent, with much of the rise coming from Gazans.

Incentives offered to those who opposed the peace agreement package caused the total support to rise on both sides. Among the incentives offered was the release of all Palestinian-Arab prisoners, which caused Palestinian-Arab support to rise to 73 percent; Palestinian-Arab recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, which spurred support among Jewish Israelis to rise to 58 percent; and changing educational textbooks on both sides to remove incitement, raising support by one-third on both sides.

Some 57.5 percent of all Arabs and 58.3 percent of all Israelis opposed the idea of a confederation of a Palestinian state and the State of Israel in which citizens of each country could live on the territory of the other under their laws with security and the economy handled jointly by both countries.

A majority of Arabs, or 52.3 percent, believe a two-state solution is no longer viable, and 43.9 percent of Israelis agree. In a separate question, 58 percent of Arabs and 61.4 of Israelis opposed one state for Arabs and Israelis.

Some 47.2 percent of Israelis support or strongly support the eviction of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria under a peace agreement, with 44.8 percent opposing or strongly opposing such a move.

In a question on the perception of others, 39.6 percent of Arabs said they agree or certainly agree with the statement “I feel fear toward Israeli Jews,” and 67.5 percent of Jewish Israelis agreed or certainly agreed with the statement “I feel fear toward Palestinians.”

Some 53.3 percent of Arabs said they disagree or certainly disagree with the statement “Most Israelis want peace,” and 62.2 percent of Israelis said they disagreed or certainly disagree with the statement “Most Arabs want peace.”

In May, a poll showed that just under half of Israeli Arabs support the idea of a Palestinian state, and only 4% would ever want to live in such a state.

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