Most Israelis and Palestinians oppose realistic peace deal, poll finds

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Most Israelis and Palestinians oppose the kind of peace deal that has been under negotiation, a new poll found.

When presented with a permanent status agreement based on past Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, 55 percent of Israeli Jews and 59 percent of Palestinians are against it, according to the joint poll by the Israel Democracy Institute and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.

Only small majorities of Israelis, 59 percent, and Palestinians, 51 percent, support a two-state solution to the conflict between their peoples, the poll found. Twenty percent of Israeli Jews and 34 percent of Palestinians support a one-state solution.

The leading think tanks surveyed 1,184 Israelis and 1,270 Palestinians, revealing mistrust and fear of the other on both sides, but some hope for flexibility.

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The peace deal offered in the poll included a demilitarized Palestinian state, reciprocal national recognition, Israeli withdrawal to its pre-1967 border with territorial swaps, the reunification of 100,000 Palestinians with families in Israel, the division of Jerusalem and its holy sites and the end of conflict and claims.

A multinational force would be set up in the Palestinian state, and Israel would maintain two early warning stations in the West Bank for 15 years.

Egypt and France are both pushing initiatives to revive Israel-Palestinian peace talks. Palestinian leaders demand Israel freeze settlement construction and agree to negotiate based on the pre-1967 Green Line as preconditions for talks.

A large minority of Israeli Jews and Palestinians, 39 percent, support the poll’s peace deal, along with a whopping 90 percent of Israeli Arabs, according to the poll.

Secular and left-wing Israeli Jews are more likely to be supportive, while more-religious and right-wing Israeli Jews are less likely to be. Just 16 percent of Israeli settlers in the West Bank are supportive, compared to 40 percent of non-settlers. 

Among Palestinians, the more-religious are more supportive of the deal than the less-religious. There is a large difference in support between Fatah and Hamas backers — 57 percent versus 25 percent. Fatah is the political party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas is the Islamist terrorist group the governs the Gaza Strip.

Both Israelis and Palestinians correctly estimate that majorities on both sides oppose the deal, the poll found. A quarter of Israelis and Palestinians who oppose the deal would reconsider their opposition if it were accompanied by a peace agreement with all Arab states according to the principles of the Arab Peace Initiative, for Israelis, and Israeli acceptance of that initiative, for Palestinians.

Last year’s version of the poll found 51 percent of both Israelis and Palestinians supported a two-state solution. In 2014, 62 percent of Israelis and 54 percent of Palestinians backed the idea.