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US support for 2-state solution hits 20-year low

Poll finds 39% back Palestinian state in West Bank and Gaza, most disapprove of Obama’s handling of US-Israel relations

Apartment buildings in Ras Khamis peek over the security barrier in East Jerusalem (photo credit: Elhanan Miller/Times of Israel)
Apartment buildings in Ras Khamis peek over the security barrier in East Jerusalem (photo credit: Elhanan Miller/Times of Israel)

Support in the United States for a Palestinian state has reached its lowest point in nearly 20 years, according to a new poll published by the Washington Post and ABC News.

Asked whether they support or oppose the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, 39 percent of American respondents backed a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and 36% opposed it. The remaining 25% offered no opinion.

The March 29 poll surveyed 1,003 respondents and had a margin of error of 3.5%.

Support was down from a peak of 58% in 2003, and the lowest it’s been in Washington Post-ABC and Gallup polls since 1998.

The poll’s findings showed significantly lower support for the two-state solution among American respondents than a similar survey conducted among Israelis. A survey published by Haaretz in July 2014 found that 60% of Israeli respondents would support the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel as part of a peace agreement.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll also showed American respondents disapproved of the way US President Barack Obama is handing US relations with Israel. Thirty-eight percent expressed support, while 50% said they disapproved the way the White House was managing things; 12% had no opinion.

Support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of Israel-US relations was a more divisive issue, with 39% approving and 44% disapproving; 19% had no opinion.

The poll was conducted less than two weeks after Netanyahu won a landslide victory in the March 17 Knesset elections, taking 30 of the 120 seats in the parliament, and less than a month after he delivered a polarizing speech on Iran to Congress. In the lead-up to the elections, the incumbent prime minister reversed his support for a two-state solution, then apparently backtracked after his victory was official.

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