Poll: Two-State Solution Losing Steam Among Israelis, Palestinians

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) reaches to shake hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in front of U.S. President Barack Obama (C) during a trilateral meeting at President Obama's hotel in New York September 22, 2009. Obama, making his most direct foray into Middle East diplomacy, on Tuesday called Israelis and Palestinians to act with a sense of urgency to get formal peace negotiations back on track. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash 90 *** Local Caption *** ?????? ?????? ??? ????? ??? ??? ????????? ????? ????
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (L) and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas (R) sit with U.S. President Barack Obama during a trilateral meeting at a New York hotel in 2009. (Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)

Fewer Israelis and Palestinian Authority Arabs support the two-state solution today than in the past, a poll by the Israeli Democracy Institute shows. The poll of 2,000 Israelis and PA Arabs selected as a demographically representative group shows that only 51 percent of PA Arabs support the two-state solution, while 59 percent of Israelis support it. In 2009, 79 percent of Israelis supported the two-state solution.

When polled on details of the deal, support shrank even further. When asked if they would approve a Palestinian state within the 1967 Green Line, the return of the descendants of Arabs who fled in 1948 to Israel, and the division of Yerushalayim – all conditions the PA has said are non-negotiable – 39 percent of PA Arabs supported it, while 46 percent of Israelis did so as well. With that, a quarter of the PA Arabs opposed to the deal said they would change their minds if a peace deal included implementation of normalization between Israel and Arab countries.

As to why talks have failed so far, both sides have ready answers – it’s the other side’s fault. Among PA Arabs, 62 percent blame Israel, while 52 percent blame the Arabs. Only 43 percent of either group said that the other side truly wants peace. A whopping 89 percent of PA Arabs said that Israel could not be trusted, a sentiment 68 percent of Israelis agreed with about the Palestinians.

However, both sides see the issue as more than a winner-takes-all one. Only 12 percent of Israelis said the country’s ultimate objective was to take over all of Yehudah and Shomron. Among PA Arabs, 10 percent said the objective was to take over Israel and replace it with an Arab state. In addition, the majority of PA Arabs said that Israeli democracy was a positive thing, and half evaluated the living situation in Israel as a positive one.