An EU-funded survey of 2,100 Israelis and Palestinians revealed that although over half of each side supports a two-state solution, the percentages reflect opposite trends in comparison to a poll taken in December 2016: a slight decline in Israeli support with a larger increase in Palestinian support.

Mutual suspicions (Archives)

Mutual suspicions (Archives) Photo Credit: MN Daily, Channel 2 News

According to a new survey published today (Tuesday) by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Research in Ramallah, about 53% of Israelis and 52% of Palestinians support a two-state solution. However, these seemingly equal percentages reflect opposite trends: an 8% rise in support by Palestinians, and a 2% decline in support by Israelis, compared to polls from December 2016.

Similar trends were found in support of a deal that would include a demilitarized Palestinian state, an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines with equal land swaps, family reunifications of up to 100,000 Palestinian refugees in Israel, and the declaration of West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, with the Old City split between the two. On the Israeli side, a 32% support for this solution marked a 9% decrease since December 2016, while on the Palestinian side, at 43%, a 4% increase in support was recorded.

On the other hand, according to the survey, a change in the positions could be achieved by adding incentives to the settled arrangement. A third to half of the plan’s opponents on either side changed their minds and became supporters after: the Israelis were told that the Palestinians would also eliminate incitement from their textbooks and recognize the State of Israel while the Palestinians were told that Israel would release Palestinian prisoners and recognize their historical narrative.

Both sides agree settlements aren't helpful

Both sides agree settlements aren’t helpful Photo Credit: Moshe Milner, GPO/Channel 2 News

The survey also revealed that both sides believe that settlement expansion has rendered the two-state solution impractical, which directly opposes the solution. However, both hold suspicions of the other: only 13% of the Palestinians trust Jews and less than 20% of the Israeli Jews trust the Palestinians. Whereas 78% of the Palestinians indicated they believe Israel aspires to take control of the entire territory, 62% of Israeli Jews believed this was a true of the Palestinians. It is interesting to note that both sides believe this was a minority opinion in their society.

Confederation? Israeli Arabs say yes (Archives)

Confederation? Israeli Arabs say yes (Archives) Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

Furthermore, when three solutions were presented – a single equal state for two peoples, an unequal apartheid state, and an extreme scenario in which one people drives out the other – between 10% and 15% of each side supported one of the solutions. The option of a confederation between two states, Israel and Palestine, received impressive support from 32% of Israelis and 37% of Palestinians. Israeli Arabs expressed the greatest support for this type of solution (61%), compared to only 26% of Israeli Jews.

The EU-funded survey, conducted in June and early July was responded to by 1,200 Palestinians from the territories, and 900 Israelis, with an extensive sample of Israeli settlers and Arabs.