Half of Jerusalem Arabs want to be Israelis
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Half of Jerusalem Arabs want to be Israelis

Figure far higher in capital than among West Bank (12%) or Gaza (4%) Palestinians, poll finds

Palestinians pray as Israeli policemen guard (unseen) during Friday prayers in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz, October 31, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Palestinians pray as Israeli policemen guard (unseen) during Friday prayers in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz, October 31, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A slim majority of Palestinians living in Jerusalem would prefer Israeli citizenship to being citizens of a Palestinian state, a new poll indicates.

Just over half, or 52 percent, of respondents told pollsters they would prefer “Israeli citizenship with equal rights,” while 42% prefer to be Palestinian citizens when a Palestinian state is established, Channel 2 reported Wednesday.

The figure is far higher than in polls conducted in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank. In Gaza, just 4% said they preferred Israeli citizenship; in the West Bank, just 12%.

The figure was part of a forthcoming poll from the The Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Fikra Forum, conducted by Nabil Kukali of the Palestine Center for Public Opinion.

The figure marks a spike in desire for Israeli citizenship. A similar poll in 2010 found just one-third of East Jerusalem Arabs preferred Israeli citizenship to Palestinian.

Data obtained by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies indicates a jump over the past decade of actual requests by Palestinians in East Jerusalem for Israeli citizenship, rising from 114 applications in 2003 to between 800 and 1,000 per year now, around half of which are ultimately successful, Reuters reported earlier this month.

Previous polls asked respondents who said they preferred Israeli citizenship the reasons for their preference. The most commonly cited reasons were improved employment prospects, modern medical services and guaranteed access to comprehensive health insurance.

Of the respondents, 47% said they would prefer to work in an Israeli workplace, even if it meant changing their lifestyle.

Asked if Israel would continue to exist in 30 or 40 years, 62% said it would, either as a Jewish or binational state. That’s a higher rate than among Palestinians in Gaza (42%) or the West Bank (47%).

Almost 40% said Jews “have rights to the land, together with Palestinians,” while 70% are willing to accept a two-state solution, compared to just 56% in the West Bank and 44% in Gaza.

The survey was conducted in mid-June via personal interviews with 504 East Jerusalem Palestinians. It has a margin of error of 4.5%.

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