Support for two-state solution drops to historic low

Israeli left-wing activists holding placards and their national flag during a Peace Now march calling on Israelis to end the occupation of Palestinian lands, in Tel Aviv, Dec. 19, 2015. (Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli left-wing activists holding placards and their national flag during a Peace Now march calling on Israelis to end the occupation of Palestinian lands, in Tel Aviv, Dec. 19, 2015. (Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Support for a two-state solution among Israelis and Palestinians has dropped to a record low following years of a moribund peace process and several rounds of violent military confrontation.

According to a new poll conducted by Tel Aviv University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, only 43 per cent of both Israeli Jews and Palestinians back such a negotiated end to the conflict, a decline of 9 and 8 points since 2016, respectively.

Support for a two-state solution has been steadily eroding among Jews and Palestinians for a decade, the pollsters noted, although among Israeli Arabs support has largely remained “stable and very high” at 82 per cent.

A total of 2,150 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and 1,600 Israelis were polled on their views of a hypothetical peace deal consisting of a demilitarized Palestinian state, an Israeli withdrawal to 1967 borders with equal territorial exchange, family unification in Israel of 100,000 Palestinian refugees, western Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and eastern Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall under Israeli sovereignty, and the Muslim and Christian quarters and the al Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount under Palestinian sovereignty, and the end of the conflict and claims.

Only 37 per cent of Palestinians and 39 per cent of Israeli Jews said they supported such an agreement. Nineteen per cent of Israeli Jews expressed support for a unitary state with equal rights for both Jews and Palestinians, while 15 per cent voiced their approval of annexation without rights. Eight per cent supported expulsion of the Palestinians.

“A plurality or a majority of Israelis and Palestinians, respectively, believe that settlements have expanded so much that the two-state solution is no longer viable,” the pollsters wrote. “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 a net decline over the last two years in the percentage of Israeli Jews and Palestinians who think the other side wants peace.”

Between Jews and Arabs, nearly half of Israelis believe that a two-state solution is still viable, although 45 per cent believe that settlements have spread too much to implement such an agreement. While Israeli Arabs remained highly optimistic, with 64 per cent thinking this solution remained viable, only 44 per cent of Israeli Jews agreed with this assessment.

Overall, trust between the two sides seems to have broken down almost completely, with only a quarter of Israeli Jews trusting Palestinians and 11 per cent of Palestinians reciprocating that trust. Both sides are extremely skeptical that a Palestinian state will be established in the next five years, with 72 per cent of Palestinians and 81 per cent of Israeli Jews saying they do not expect this to happen.

The poll, which had a margin of error of 2.5 per cent, was supported by the United Nations, European Union and Japan.

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