Israelis choke on reality of two states

The poll was initially published in a free newspaper owned by one of Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's biggest backers. (Reuters)

The poll was initially published in a free newspaper owned by one of Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's biggest backers. (Reuters)

A poll has found that 75% of Israeli Jews oppose the creation of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders if it means withdrawing Israeli troops from the Jordan Valley.

The survey, conducted by a right-wing think-tank headed by a political ally of the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, makes for stark reading, contradicting previous polls showing up to 60% of Israelis in favour of a two-state solution.

But the poll confirms the argument that Israeli support for a Palestinian state is dramatically lower when people are presented with specific details rather than being asked to support the basic idea.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is making a concerted diplomatic push for a United Nations Security Council resolution seeking an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories by November 2016.

Of the 60% of those polled who described themselves as right wing, opposition to a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines rose to almost 92%, and 72% of those who identified as left wing would support it.

Jerusalem
That opposition rises further still when the issue of dividing Jerusalem is included, with 40% of left-wingers opposing the division of Jerusalem.

The poll was initially published in the free newspaper owned by the Las Vegas casino owner Sheldon Adelson, one of the Israeli prime minister’s biggest backers.

Left-wing commentators said the poll was probably an accurate reflection of Israeli public opinion.

“The poll published in Israel Hayom is obviously meant to serve Netanyahu’s agenda,” said Mairav Zonszein, writing for the +972 website.

“And, while it is dangerous to rely solely on a single poll to back up any claim, this specific poll – no matter how flawed or skewed – happens to be an accurate reflection of the Israeli government’s policies, much of its rhetoric and the reality on the ground.”

Although historical polling has suggested solid Israeli support for a two-state solution, Zonszein argues that the latest poll more truly reflects both how Israelis vote for political parties – and those parties’ agendas – and how they talk about the peace process.

The latest poll reflects what appears to be an ever-diminishing appetite for a two-state solution on both sides.

Two polls earlier this year – one of Palestinians for the right-leaning think-tank Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a Pew Research poll – both identified growing pessimism about whether a peace deal could be done. – © Guardian News & Media 2014

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