Palestinian support for a two-state solution with Israel has dropped to below the 30 percent mark, according to a new poll commissioned by the US-based think tank the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, though most respondents said they were opposed to violent resistance.
Marking a notable shift in Palestinian public opinion, 60 percent of the population surveyed in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (55% and 68%, respectively) said that the five-year goal “should be to work toward reclaiming all of historic Palestine, from the river to the sea,” according to the poll, a position meaning the elimination of Israel. Meanwhile, less than 30% (31% in the West Bank, 22% in Gaza) would like to “end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza to achieve a two-state solution.”
In contrast, 53% of Palestinians supported the two-state solution in a December 2013 poll conducted by the Hebrew University.
Numerous other statistics from the survey confirmed the downward trend of support for a two-state solution as an end to the conflict. Two-thirds of respondents said that a two-state solution would be “part of a ‘program of stages,’ to liberate all of historic Palestine later” and that “resistance should continue until all of historic Palestine is liberated.”
On a more promising note, a majority of respondents registered opposition to violent resistance against Israel, particularly in the Gaza Strip, where 70% said Hamas should maintain a ceasefire with Israel and 57% said that Hamas should accede to the PA unity government’s renunciation of violence. In the West Bank 56% said that Hamas should adhere to the ceasefire and 50% said it should renounce violence altogether.
The poll showed that a clear majority of Palestinians — 62% of the West Bank and 73% of Gazans — support nonviolent “popular resistance against the occupation” and see it as a useful tactic.
Perhaps surprisingly, Hamas seems to have gained little political clout for its alleged abduction of the three Israeli teenagers, despite popular support for the kidnapping on the street. Asked who should lead the Palestinian Authority in the next two years, 65% chose Fatah leaders, with Mahmoud Abbas leading (30%), then Marwan Baghouti (12%), Mohammed Dahlan (10%) and others (13% combined), while various Hamas leaders only won 9% of support in the West Bank and 15% in Gaza.
The Palestinian public also appeared to exhibit some short-term pragmatism, with over 80% saying they “definitely” or “probably” wanted to see more job opportunities for Palestinians in Israel. A majority said they also wanted Israeli companies to offer more jobs to Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza.
The Washington Institute said the poll was conducted by “a leading Palestinian pollster” on June 15-17 through face-to-face interviews among 1,200 adult Palestinians, with a 3% statistical margin of error.