Support for two-state solution at lowest in nearly 20 years — poll

43% of Palestinians and Israeli Jews back the two-state solution; last year, the Palestinian figure was 52% and the Jewish figure was 47%

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

A picture taken from the Mount of Olives shows the Old City of Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock shrine in the center, on December 6, 2017. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)
A picture taken from the Mount of Olives shows the Old City of Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock shrine in the center, on December 6, 2017. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

Support for the concept of the two-state solution among Palestinians and Israeli Jews is the lowest in almost two decades, according to a public opinion poll published on Monday.

Forty-three percent of Palestinians and Israeli Jews back a two-state solution, which would include the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, the survey conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University found.

This was down from a similar poll conducted by the same groups a year ago, in which 52% of Palestinians and 47% of Israeli Jews said they favored two states.

Arab Israeli support has largely remained “stable and very high,” at 82%, the poll found.

The poll published on Monday, which surveyed 2,150 Palestinians from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, and 1,400 Israeli Jews, was carried out in late June and early July.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said he supports a two-state solution, while Hamas in Gaza calls for Israel’s destruction.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem, September 15, 2010 (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said on a couple of occasions that he supports two states, but also has stated that no Palestinian state will be created while he is in office. In addition, many ministers in Netanyahu’s cabinet have strongly expressed their opposition to the idea.

When the pollsters asked half of the Palestinian and Jewish-Israeli respondents about a proposed peace deal along the lines of what has been discussed in previous peace negotiations, only 37% of the Palestinians and 39% of the Jewish Israelis said they would be in favor of it.

The proposed agreement that PCPSR and Tami Steinmetz presented to respondents includes a demilitarized Palestinian state; an Israeli withdrawal to pre-1967 lines with territorial swaps; repatriation of 100,000 Palestinian refugees in Israel as a part of family reunification; West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and East Jerusalem as a future Palestinian state’s capital; the Old City’s Jewish Quarter and Western Wall under Israeli sovereignty, and Muslim and Christian quarters and the Temple Mount under Palestinian sovereignty and other measures.

But when the pollsters asked the second of half the Palestinian and Israeli Jewish respondents if they support an expanded version of the proposed deal including clauses that refer to the establishment of a democratic system in a future Palestinian state and equal rights for all Israelis, 42% of the former and 45% of the latter said they would support it.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have not taken place since US-sponsored talks collapsed in mid-2014.

US President Donald Trump’s administration has said it would like to achieve a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians. But following the American president’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the relocation of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the city, Abbas has said he will not cooperate with any White House peace effort.

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