Poll: Most Israelis would back US plan tying Palestinian state to freeing hostages, Saudi normalization

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US President Joe Biden speaks at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, on January 5, 2024. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)
US President Joe Biden speaks at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, on January 5, 2024. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

A slight majority of Israelis would back a US plan for ending the war that would see the release of all remaining hostages, Saudi Arabia agree to normalize relations with Israel, and Jerusalem agree to the eventual establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state, a new poll indicates.

In the survey conducted by the Midgam Institute on behalf of the dovish Geneva Initiative, 51.3 percent of respondents say they would back such an agreement, while 28.9% said they would oppose it, and 19.8% said they didn’t know.

Support was predictably higher among centrist and left-wing voters, with 73% of them backing such a deal, but 39% of right-wing voters also said they would support it.

The results fly in the face of arguments senior Israeli officials have been making since the war, insisting that the public is in no place to discuss a two-state solution following Hamas’s October 7 terror onslaught.

Netanyahu reportedly rejected a proposal presented earlier this month by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that would have seen Saudi Arabia take part in the reconstruction of Gaza after the war, along with four other Arab countries. It would also have entailed agreeing to normalize ties with Israel, though on the condition that Jerusalem agree to take irreversible steps creating a pathway to an eventual Palestinian state.

Respondents were also asked whether they would prefer IDF soldiers remain in Gaza three year from now. Fifty percent of participants say they would not want such a situation, while 32% said they would want the IDF to still remain in Gaza that far down the line.

Participants were also asked whether their attitude toward the United States has changed since October 7.

Thirty-eight percent say their attitude toward the US has not changed and remains positive; 26.3% say their attitude changed for the better; 17.1% say it changed for the worse; 7.2% claimed that their attitude has not changed and remains negative; 11.1% say they are unsure.

In total, roughly 65% of respondents expresses a positive attitude toward the US since October 7.

Five hundred Israelis participated in the survey that has a 4.4% margin of error.

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