Thursday, 8 August 2013

Do Israelis want a real Palestinian state? The polls say no

It’s peace process time again--and with it comes the trope that Israelis are ready for a two-state solution. That sentiment is accompanied by polls showing the same: that Israelis support the principle of two states for two peoples. But an examination of Israeli polls shows that nothing like a viable Palestinian state that would be acceptable to the Palestinian population is on the table.

With the peace process in overdrive, media consumers have been treated to a lot of hopeful thinking. In the past month, journalists and analysts have lined up to say that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has the support of the Israeli people to make a peace deal--if he would just go ahead and buck his right-wing coalition.

Writing in Foreign Policy, Brent Sasley says that there is “majority support, including among Jewish-Israelis, for talks and for a final settlement. One recent poll found that 62 percent of Israelis support a two-state solution.”

In a piece on why there’s hope for a two-state deal, The New Republic’s Ben Birnbaum writes that “two-thirds of Israelis—including a majority of Likud and Jewish Home (!) voters—would support a peace deal that gave the Palestinians a state on 100 percent of the West Bank (with land swaps) with its capital in East Jerusalem.”

The Guardian’s Michael Cohen similarly writes that “Israelis strongly support a two-state solution.”

All three of those analysts link to articles in Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post that provide details on the same poll: a December 2012 study conducted by the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace showing that right-wing Israelis would support a Palestinian state. The polls--there were two in total commissioned by the center--surveyed Habayit Hayehudi and Likud voters, and found that the majority of them would support a Palestinian state. Conflict solved!

Not so fast. The devil is in the details when it comes to a Palestinian state. more


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