Survey: Most Israelis, Palestinians support 2 states

But large majority doesn’t see Palestinian statehood happening soon; 30% on both sides support a single state

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

The majority of Israelis and Palestinians support a two-state solution, a new survey released by the Hebrew University’s Truman Institute and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research has found. On both sides, however, respondents are pessimistic over the prospects of “an independent Palestine” being formed in the next five years.

Nearly two-thirds of Israelis — 62 percent — support a diplomatic solution based on two states, while only 33% oppose it, the survey said. In contrast, 46% of the Palestinians said they were against the idea, as opposed to 53% who replied that they were in favor of it.

The Palestinian section of the survey was conducted via face-to-face interviews with residents of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, and had a standard error of up to 3%. On the Israeli side, phone calls were conducted in Hebrew, Russian and Arabic, and the error was up to 4.5%.

Participants on both sides thought the likelihood of a two-state solution coming about in the near future was low: Sixty-eight percent of Israelis and 69% of Palestinians said it wouldn’t happen within the next five years. Furthermore, 58% of the Palestinians said it was too late to implement a two-state solution.

Respondents on both sides of the conflict were opposed to a single bi-national state: Sixty-three percent of Israelis and 69% of Palestinians said they were against it, compared to some 30% who supported the idea on both sides.

Asked about the situation on the ground, 51% of Israeli respondents said they thought the settlements were the main obstacle to peace. Seventy-four percent of Palestinian respondents said they were worried that their lands would be taken over or their homes would be demolished.

The survey shows that both sides fear the other side wants to consolidate an exclusive grip on the land. Fifty-seven percent of the Palestinian respondents said they believe Israel’s goal is to expand its border from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River and exile the Arab population from their lands, while 25% said Israel wished to annex the West Bank without removing the people living there.

On they Israeli side, 50% of respondents said they fear they or their family will be hurt by Arabs. Thirty-seven percent think the Palestinians’ end game is to occupy Israel and destroy the Jewish population in the area, and 17% believe the Palestinians wish to rule from the Jordan to the sea without hurting the Jews.

The survey results were published only days after US Secretary of State John Kerry left the region, wrapping up another round of talks with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders. After Kerry’s latest attempt to restart the long-stalled negotiations, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he was optimistic, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his commitment to a two-state solution.

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