Joint Israeli-Palestinian Poll

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The chances for a renewal of negotiations are rather low in the public perception. Pessimism and mutual distrust prevail among both Israelis and Palestinians.

Neither Israelis nor Palestinians have high expectations regarding the future development of the negotiations or the decrease of armed attacks. Only 6% of the Israelis and 18% of the Palestinians anticipate an end of violence and the continuation of the negotiations. About 36% of Israelis and 32% of Palestinians believe that the two sides will return to the negotia-tions while some armed attacks will take place. Half of the Israelis (nearly 50%) think that the negotiations will not continue and that there will be no end to violence. In contrast, only 19% of the Palestinians are that sceptical. However, they were given an additional answer-ing option, which did not only predict a continuation, but even an increase of violence with-out renewal of negotiations. 21% expect such a development. In general, majorities on both sides believe that the violence will not come to an end in the near future.

Establishment of a Palestinian state and settlement policy

The chances for the establishment of a Palestinian state within the next five years are also seen as low. 71% among Israelis and 68% among Palestinians claim that the chances are poor or non-existent. Compared to the results of June 2011, it becomes apparent that the belief in the establishment of a Palestinian state within the next five years decreased on both sides. Already last year 62% of the Palestinians had regarded the chances as poor or non-existent. This development is even stronger among Israelis. Compared to last June, the number of sceptics increased by 18 percentage points, from 53% to 71%.
This development is also remarkable when confronted with the Israeli opinion on the dis-mantling of most Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. The public opinion in Israel is split concerning this issue; the number of opponents of such a dismantling is slightly lar-ger than the number of its supporters. Recently, a “Report on the Legal Status of Building in Judea and Samaria”, authored by a committee appointed by the Netanyahu government, gained public attention. It had recommended the legalisation of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. This recommendation would be in accordance with the finding that 50% of the Israelis oppose the dismantling of most of these settlements, whereas 45% support it.

Mutual Recognition as Jewish and Palestinian state

Another important question concerning the permanent resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the mutual recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish and of Palestine as the state of the Palestinian people. This recognition is currently supported by 53% of Israelis and 43% of Palestinians. Compared to last years’ results this means a slight decrease from 58% (Israelis) and 47% (Palestinians). The question of identity is significant because it im-plies a final renunciation on both sides. Palestinians would have to abandon any demand for the territory which is now Israel’s as well as for their right of return. Israelis would have to give up the dream, based on the Bible, of incorporating Judea and Samaria, which are both located in the West Bank, into their state. From an Israeli point of view the definition as a Jewish state – which also means being a state with a Jewish majority – is of crucial impor-tance. As the results show, 38% of the Israelis regard a Jewish majority as the most fun-damental value for the future of their country. 26% state peace as their first priority, 23% democracy and 12% Greater-Israel (meaning a state territory which includes the biblical regions of Judea and Samaria).

Threat perceptions

The level of threat perception shows opposing trends on the Israeli and Palestinian side. The feeling of security apparently increased among the Israelis, as a relatively low percentage of 51% feel threatened, compared to 59% last year. In contrast, the number of Palestinians who feel threatened, is not only significantly higher, it even increased slightly compared to last years’ results. While 70% among the Palestinians felt threatened in June 2011, the per-centage increased to 74% today, which is more than 20% above the Israeli figure.

Execution of the survey

The Palestinian sample size was 1200 adults interviewed face-to-face in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in 120 randomly selected locations between June 21 and 23, 2012. The margin of error is 3%. The Israeli sample includes 602 adult Israelis interviewed by phone in Hebrew, Arabic or Russian between June 17 and 21, 2012. The margin of error is 4.5%. The poll was planned and supervised by Prof. Yaacov Shamir, the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace and the Department of Communication and Journalism at the Hebrew University, and Prof. Khalil Shikaki, Director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR).


Michael Mertes

Publication series

Country Reports


Israel, July 18, 2012