Poll: Most Israelis, Palestinians support 2-state solution

Hebrew University study shows many on both sides eager to achieve peace, but wary of opposing party’s true aim

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

A majority of both Israelis and Palestinians support a peace agreement based on the two-state solution formula, a Hebrew University poll found, though many respondents reported that they were skeptical as to the sustainability of such an agreement in the long term.

The study, conducted jointly by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, found that 63 percent of Israelis and 53% of Palestinians support the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, the university said in a statement Tuesday.

When it came to territorial compromise and settlement evacuation, 44% of Israelis said they supported an Israeli withdrawal from the entire West Bank, with the exception of some settlement blocs in less than 3% of the area which would be swapped for an equal amount of territory inside the Green Line. Forty-eight percent said they opposed such a move.

Fifty-six percent of polled Palestinians supported a similar withdrawal plan, while 48% said they were opposed.

Meanwhile, 83% of Palestinian respondents and 55% of Israelis reported that they were wary of their negotiation partners’ true intentions.

According to the poll, Israelis and Palestinians perceive their interlocutors in the talks as posing an existential threat. Sixty percent of Palestinians said they believed Israel aims to extend its territory over all of the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and to expel its Arab citizens. Twenty-four percent professed to believing that Israel aimed to annex the West Bank while denying political rights to the Palestinians.

Thirty-four percent of Israelis agreed that the Palestinians aspire in the long run to occupy the State of Israel and eliminate the country’s Jewish population.

The Palestinian poll was conducted among 1,270 adults interviewed face-to-face in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in 127 randomly selected locations between December 13 and 16, 2013. The margin of error was 3%.

On the Israeli side, 601 adult Israelis were interviewed by phone in Hebrew, Arabic or Russian between December 12 and 21, and the margin of error was 4.5%.

The full poll is available here.

On Monday, sources in the Likud party asserted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was prepared to continue peace talks for another year based on US Secretary of State John Kerry’s “framework” agreement, which provides for negotiations for Palestinian statehood on the basis of the pre-1967 lines, Channel 10 news reported.

Palestinian sources told the Saudi daily Al-Watan on Sunday that the Kerry plan offers Israeli and Palestinian negotiators a political trade-off: Israeli recognition of the 1967 lines as a basis for the future Palestinian state, in return for Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people.

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