Majority rejects Israeli plan for unilateral steps in the West Bank
Joint Israeli Palestinian Poll, June 2012
Israelis are split and Palestinians oppose a new Israeli unilateral plan designed to encourage settlers to move back to Israel in order to bolster the two-state solution and the Israeli government’s ability to reach a peace solution with the Palestinians.
Recently a new plan was published in the Israeli media about an Israeli plan for unilateral steps in the West Bank. The plan was designed to bolster the two-state solution and the government’s ability to reach a peace solution with the Palestinians. These are the features of the plan:
- The Israeli government will declare that it is willing to return to negotiations anytime and that it has no claims of sovereignty on areas east of the existing separation fence
- Israel will end all settlement construction east of the fence and in the Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem
- At the same time, Israel will prepare to bring back settlers living outside the separation fence and will establish a fair compensation plan for them
- IDF will remain in the Palestinian territories until a final status agreement is reached
- The proposed plan will take place either unilaterally or with Palestinian cooperation.
Among Israelis, 44% support the plan and 46% oppose it. Among Palestinians 35% view it as good for Palestinians and 59% view it as bad for Palestinians. 27% of the Israelis and 24% among Palestinians think that there are high or medium chances that this plan will be implemented by the Netanyahu government; 38% of the Israelis and 34% of Palestinians think the chances are low, and 30% of the Israelis and 36% of the Palestinians think that there are no chances.
Attitudes and expectations regarding the peace process
- Majorities among Israelis (71%) and Palestinians (68%) view the chances for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state next to Israel in the next five years as low or non-existent. A majority of Israelis (56%) supports a two-state solution while 40% oppose it; Palestinians are split 49% to 49% on this issue. But majorities on both sides, 58% of Israelis and 55% of Palestinians, think that the two-state solution is bound to fail because of the settlements. At the same time, majorities among Israelis (60%) and among Palestinians (65%) oppose the one state solution in which Arabs and Jews enjoy equality; 36% of Israelis and 31% of Palestinians support this solution.
- 51% of the Palestinians support the Saudi plan and 45% oppose it, while 36% of the Israelis support and 59% oppose it. The plan calls for Arab recognition of and normalization of relations with Israel after it ends its occupation of Arab territories occupied in 1967 and after the establishment of a Palestinian state. The plan calls for Israeli retreat from all territories occupied in 1967 including Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, and the establishment of a Palestinian state. The refugee problem will be resolved through negotiations in a just and agreed upon manner and in accordance with UN resolution 194. In return, all Arab states will recognize Israel and its right to secure borders, will sign peace treaties with her and establish normal diplomatic relations. These results are similar to those obtained in our recent polls.
- As we do periodically in our joint polls, we asked Israelis and Palestinians about their readiness for a mutual recognition of identity as part of a permanent status agreement and after all issues in the conflict are resolved and a Palestinian State is established. Our current poll shows that 53% of the Israeli public supports such a mutual recognition and 43% oppose it. Among Palestinians, 43% support and 55% oppose this step. In March 2012, 55% of the Israelis supported and 39% opposed this mutual recognition of identity; among Palestinians, the corresponding figures were similar to the current poll.
Israeli military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities
- 51% of Israelis support the cooperation between the US and Israel in bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities, 19% support a strike by Israel alone without the cooperation of the US. 26% oppose any strike.
- 72 % of Israelis think that if Israel were to carry out a military strike against Iran, a major regional war will erupt; 22 % of Israelis do not think so.
Conflict management and threat perceptions
- Given the expansion of the Likud government with Kadima, 50% of the Israelis think that armed attacks will not stop and the two sides will not return to negotiations. 36% of the Israelis believe that negotiations will continue but some armed attacks will continue as well. Only 6% of Israelis believe negotiations will continue and armed confrontations will stop. Among the Palestinians, 19% think that some armed attacks will take place and the two sides will not return to negotiations, 18% think the two sides will soon return to negotiations and 32% think the two sides will return to negotiations but some armed attacks will take place. Finally, 21% think the two sides will not return to negotiations and there will be no armed attacks.
- 73% of Israelis oppose an Israeli intervention in the events in Syria; 19% support humanitarian assistance and granting political asylum to rebels, 2% support supply of weapons and ammunition, and 4 % support active intervention of the Israeli army.
- Among Israelis, 51% are worried and 48% are not worried that they or their family may be harmed by Arabs in their daily life, as they were in March 2012. Among Palestinians, 74% are worried that they or a member of their family could be hurt by Israel in their daily life or that their land would be confiscated or home demolished. In March 2012, perception of worry among Palestinians was similar.
- The level of threat on both sides regarding the aspirations of the other side in the long run is very high. 62% of Palestinians think that Israel’s goals are to extend its borders to cover all the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and expel its Arab citizens, and 19% think the goals are to annex the West Bank while denying political rights to the Palestinians. The modal category among Israelis is that the Palestinian aspirations in the long run are to conquer the State of Israel and destroy much of the Jewish population in Israel (41%); 15% think the goals of the Palestinians are to conquer the State of Israel. Only 17% of the Palestinians think Israel’s aspirations in the long run are to withdraw from part or all of the territories occupied in 1967; and 38% of Israelis think the aspirations of the Palestinians are to regain some or all of the territories conquered in 1967.
- When asked to choose among four basic values regarding the identity of Israel: a Jewish state, Greater Israel, a democratic state (with equal political rights to all), and peace (low probability for war), 38% of Israeli Jews choose a Jewish state as the most desired value; 26% choose peace, and Democracy is most highly ranked by 23%. Only 12% choose Greater Israel as their most preferred value.
- On the Palestinian side, when asked to chose among four vital goals for the Palestinian people, 47% selected end of Israeli occupation in the areas occupied in 1967 and build a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital, 30% selected obtaining right of return of refugees, 15% selected building a pious or moral individual and a religious society, and 8% selected the establishment of a democratic political system.
- As in other opinion polls carried out recently, the Likud leads by far the other parties in terms of vote intention of Israelis if the elections for the Knesset were to be held now. In March 2012, when we added to the list of political parties a party of the social protest movement, it came out a close second to the Likud with 14% to the Likud’s 16%. In the current poll, when we add to the list of political parties a party of the social protest movement, only 8% indicate they would vote for it. Since such a party has not been actually proclaimed, this prognosis is premature; however these results are noteworthy since they were obtained in the backdrop of the recent violent clashes with the Palestinians in the South while security and not social and economic issues were high on the political agenda.
- On the Palestinian side, if presidential and parliamentary elections were to take place today, Abbas receives 49% of the vote and Ismail Haniyeh 44% of those participating in the presidential elections, while Fateh wins 40% and Hamas 29% of the popular vote of those participating in the parliamentary elections; all other parties combined receive 12% of the vote and 19% say they have not decided to whom they will vote.
These are the results of the most recent Joint Israeli-Palestinian Poll conducted jointly by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah. The poll was conducted in the backdrop of the recent round of violent clashes in Southern Israel and the Gaza Strip. 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). For further details, contact PSR director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki, or Walid Ladadweh at tel 02-296 4933 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. On the Israeli survey, contact Prof. Yaacov Shamir at tel. 03-6419429 or email email@example.com.
This survey was conducted with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Ramallah.
Palestinian Territories, July 10, 2012