New Poll Shows Drop in Support for Two-State Solution Among PA Arabs

Israeli security forces clash with Palestinians during a protest against President Donald Trump’s decision to recognized Yerushalayim as the capital of Israel, in Ramallah, December 8, 2017. (Flash90)

Support for the establishment of a Palestinian state has fallen both among Arabs and Jews, a new poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) shows. According to the poll, 46 percent of both Palestinian Authority Arabs and Jews support the two-state solution. Israeli Arabs are the only group in which a large majority – 86 percent – prefer this solution, the poll shows.

The poll was taken by a coalition of Israeli and PA groups, with assistance from the European Union, the U.N. and the Japanese government. The poll shows a significant drop in preference for the two-state solution among PA Arabs; in June of 2017, 53 percent of PA Arabs supported it. The support figure among Jews was the same in the latest poll as it was in June. Analysts said that the reason for the changed attitudes is likely the perceived preference for Israeli policy positions by the United States over the past year, especially the recognition of the U.S. of Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital.

The details of the “two-state solution” as presented in the poll was a demilitarized Palestinian state in Yehudah and Shomron, with territorial exchanges to allow the settlement blocs to remain under Israeli control, as well as the acceptance of 100,000 PA Arabs into Israel, Yerushalayim as the capital of both Israel and the Palestinian state, with the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and the Kosel under Israeli control. When presented with the details, 40 percent of PA Arabs supported it, as did 43 percent of Israelis.

In general, Palestinians have become more pessimistic about the prospects for a two-state solution. The poll shows that 60 percent do not believe it is feasible at all, 8-percent more than in the June poll. Among Israeli Jews, 48 percent believe that a two-state solution is possible, while 42 percent believe that Israel is too well-ensconced in Yehudah and Shomron to allow it to happen. In any event, three-quarters of Israeli Jews and PA Arabs believe that a Palestinian state will not be established in the next five years.

As to the alternatives, 38 percent of PA Arabs said that the best path for them would be to “wage an armed struggle against the Israeli occupation,” a significant increase from that figure in the June poll, which was about 20 percent. Among Israeli Jews, 18 percent called for a “definitive war” to “defeat” the Palestinians, compared to 12 percent in the previous poll. With that, the preference among both groups – 26 percent of PA Arabs and 38 percent of Israeli Jews – is to “achieve a peace agreement.”