Poll: Majority of Israelis, Palestinians Still Seek Peace

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -

A slim majority of both Israelis and Palestinians still favor a peace settlement with a Palestinian state alongside Israel, a new poll showed Monday.

The poll found that 51 percent of Palestinians and 59 percent of Israelis still support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Tamar Hermann, an Israeli political scientist who conducted the survey with Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki, said that under the current circumstances, the results were “not amazingly encouraging,” but also “not discouraging.”

“It showed there is still some basis for optimism with the right leadership,” she said. “Right now I don’t see on the horizon a leader on either side willing or capable of using this as a springboard for intensifying the negotiations. But it’s not impossible.”

Among Jewish Israelis, 53 percent support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Among Israel’s Arab minority, the number is much higher, at 87 percent. Conversely, just 34 percent of Palestinians and 20 percent of Israelis support the idea of a single shared state where they are both citizens with equal rights.

After two decades of failed peace efforts, and nearly a year of low-level violence, mistrust is strong. The poll found that 65 percent of Israelis fear Palestinians. In contrast, just 45 percent of Palestinians fear Israelis.

The survey interviewed 1,270 Palestinians and 1,184 Israelis in June, and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points. It was conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute, where Hermann is a senior fellow, and Shikaki’s Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.