Joint Israeli-Palestinian Poll, December 2013
The majority of Israelis (63%) and of Palestinians (53%) support the two-state solution. However, the mutual threat perceptions are very high and 83% of Palestinians and 55% of Israelis feel threatened by the intentions of other side.
These are the results of the most recent 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.
This joint survey was conducted with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Ramallah and Jerusalem.
- 63% of Israelis and 53% of Palestinians support the two states solution. 41% of Israelis think that Israel should yield if there will be pressure by US President Obama to accept the two states solution. 43% of the Israelis oppose accepting the two states solution even if there will be pressure by US President Obama. Compared to previous polls, there is a decrease in Israeli willingness to yield US pressure to accept a peace arrangement.
- 54% of Israelis and 46% of Palestinians support a permanent settlement package along the Clinton parameters. These results indicate a slight increase in support for the Clinton / Geneva permanent settlement package among Palestinians and a slight decrease among Israelis compared to December 2012. 36% of the Palestinians support yielding if there will be pressure by US on Palestinians and Israelis to accept a settlement along the lines of the Clinton / Geneva ideas and 60% of the Palestinians oppose accepting such American pressure.
- Following the intensified involvement of the US in the region, 39% of the Israelis expect this involvement to be successful, while 29% of the Israelis think it will be a failure. 22% of the Israelis think it will have no impact. Compared to the poll conducted August 2009, several months after the election of Obama, there is a slight decline in the expectation that US involvement under the leadership of Obama would be successful.
- 23% of Israelis think that Obama’s policy is more supportive of Israel; 28% think it is more supportive of the Palestinians, and 40% think it is supportive of both sides equally. Compared to previous polls, there is an increase in the Israelis belief that the US under the leadership of Obama is more supportive of the Israel or balanced.
- Each side perceives the other side as constituting a threat to its very existence: 60% of Palestinians think that Israel’s goals in the long run are to extend its borders to cover all the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and expel its Arab citizens, and 24% think the goals are to annex the West Bank while denying political rights to the Palestinians. 34% of the Israelis think that the Palestinian aspirations in the long run are to conquer the State of Israel and destroy much of the Jewish population in Israel; 21% think the goals of the Palestinians are to conquer the State of Israel.
The Palestinian sample size was 1270 adults interviewed face-to-face in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in 127 randomly selected locations between December 13 and 16, 2013. The margin of error is 3%. The Israeli sample includes 601 adult Israelis interviewed by phone in Hebrew, Arabic or Russian between December 12 and 21, 2013. The margin of error is 4.5%. The poll was planned and supervised by Prof. Ifat Maoz, the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, and the Department of Communication, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Prof. Khalil Shikaki, Director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR).
(A) Attitudes, perceptions and expectations regarding a permanent settlement
The Clinton parameters for a Palestinian-Israeli permanent settlement were presented by President Clinton at a meeting with Israeli and Palestinian officials on December 23, 2000, following the collapse of the July 2000 Camp David summit. The Geneva Initiative, along similar lines, was made public around the end of 2003. These parameters address the most fundamental issues which underlie the Palestinian-Israeli conflict: (1) Final borders and territorial exchange; (2) Refugees; (3) Jerusalem; (4) A demilitarized Palestinian state; (5) Security arrangements; and (6) End of conflict. We address these issues regularly since December 2003, and in the current poll we revisited these crucial issues, amidst a turbulent Middle East and the return of the Palestinians and Israelis to permanent status negotiations.
- 54% of Israelis and 46% of Palestinians support a permanent settlement package along the Clinton parameters. The results are similar to the figures in December 2012 (56% support among Israelis and 43% support among Palestinians).
- Since 2003, we observed only once majority support for such a settlement on both sides: in December 2004, shortly after the death of Arafat. The level of support then was 64% among Israelis and 54% among Palestinians.
Below we detail support and opposition to the individual items in the Clinton / Geneva permanent status package.
(1) Final Borders and Territorial Exchange
Among Palestinians 52% support or strongly support and 48% oppose or strongly oppose an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with the exception of some settlement areas in less than 3% of the West Bank that would be swapped with an equal amount of territory from Israel in accordance with a map that was presented to the Palestinian respondents. The map was identical to that presented to respondents in December 2012, when support for this compromise, with its map, stood at 53% and opposition at 45%.
Among Israelis 44% support and 48% oppose a Palestinian state in the entirety of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip except for several large blocks of settlements in 3% of the West Bank which will be annexed to Israel. Israel will evacuate all other settlements, and the Palestinians will receive in return territory of similar size along the Gaza Strip. In December 2012, 46% of the Israelis supported this component while 49% opposed it.
Among Palestinians 46% support and 52% oppose a refugee settlement in which both sides agree that the solution will be based on UN resolutions 194 and 242. The refugees would be given five choices for permanent residency. These are: the Palestinian state and the Israeli areas transferred to the Palestinian state in the territorial exchange mentioned above; no restrictions would be imposed on refugee return to these two areas. Residency in the other three areas (in host countries, third countries, and Israel) would be subject to the decision of these states. As a base for its decision Israel will consider the average number of refugees admitted to third countries like Australia, Canada, Europe, and others. All refugees would be entitled to compensation for their “refugeehood” and loss of property. In December 2012, 41% agreed with an identical compromise while 56% opposed it.
Among Israelis 39% support such an arrangement and 50% oppose it. In December 2012, 42% supported it and 49% opposed.
In the Palestinian public 32% support and 68% oppose a Jerusalem compromise in which East Jerusalem would become the capital of the Palestinian state with Arab neighborhoods coming under Palestinian sovereignty and Jewish neighborhoods coming under Israeli sovereignty. The Old City (including al Haram al Sharif) would come under Palestinian sovereignty with the exception of the Jewish Quarter and the Wailing Wall that would come under Israeli sovereignty. In December 2012, an identical compromise obtained 29% support and 70% opposition.
Among Israelis, 37% agree and 56% disagree to this arrangement in which the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem including the old city and the Temple Mount will come under Palestinian sovereignty, the Jewish neighborhoods including the Jewish quarter and the Wailing Wall will come under Israeli sovereignty, East Jerusalem will become the capital of the Palestinian state and West Jerusalem the capital of Israel. In December 2012, similarly, 38% supported this arrangement and 59% opposed it.
(4) Demilitarized Palestinian State
Among Palestinians 28% support and 71% oppose the establishment of an independent Palestinian state that would have no army, but would have a strong security force and would have a multinational force deployed in it to ensure its security and safety. Israel and Palestine would be committed to end all forms of violence directed against each other. A similar compromise received in December 2012, 28% support, and opposition reached 71%.
This item receives the lowest level of support by Palestinians, as in previous polls, although the current level of support is the highest since 2003. Unlike the refugees and Jerusalem components, this issue has not received due attention in public discourse, as it should, since it may become a major stumbling block in the efforts to reach a settlement.
Among Israelis 60% support and 33% oppose this arrangement compared to 70% support and 26% opposition obtained in December 2012.
(5) Security Arrangements
In the Palestinian public 52% support and 48% oppose a compromise whereby the Palestinian state would have sovereignty over its land, water, and airspace, but Israel would have the right to use the Palestinian airspace for training purposes, and would maintain two early warning stations in the West Bank for 15 years. A multinational force would remain in the Palestinian state and in its border crossings for an indefinite period of time. The task of the multinational force would be to monitor the implementation of the agreement, and to monitor territorial borders and coast of the Palestinian state including the presence at its international crossings. In comparison, in December 2012,46% of the Palestinians supported this parameter while 53% opposed it.
In the Israeli public 52% support and 39% oppose this arrangement compared to 59% who supported it and 35% who opposed it in December 2012.
(6) End of Conflict
In the Palestinian public 63% support and 36% oppose a compromise on ending the conflict that would state that when the permanent status agreement is fully implemented, it will mean the end of the conflict and no further claims will be made by either side. The parties will recognize Palestine and Israel as the homelands of their respective peoples. In December 2012 59% supported and 39% opposed this item.
In the Israeli public 66% support and 28% oppose this component in the final status framework. In December 2012, similarly, 68% of the Israelis supported it while 28% opposed it.
The Whole Package
Among Palestinians 46% support and 53% oppose the whole package combining the elements as one permanent status settlement. In December 2012, 43% supported and 56% opposed such a package.
Among Israelis 54% support and 37% oppose all the above features together taken as one combined package. In December 2012 56% supported and 40% opposed such a package.
(B) Negotiation Tracks on the Agenda
The Israeli-Palestinian Track
- Dismantling settlements - 47% of the Israelis support and 48% oppose the dismantling of most of the settlements in the West Bank as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
- Mutual Recognition - As we do periodically in our joint polls, we asked Israelis and Palestinians about their readiness for a mutual recognition 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 58% of the Israeli public supports such a mutual recognition and 34% opposes it. Among Palestinians, 43% support and 56% oppose this step. In June 2013, 57% of the Israelis supported and 37% opposed this mutual recognition; among Palestinians, the corresponding figures were similar to the current poll (42% support and 56% oppose).
- 63% of Israelis and 53% of Palestinians support the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, known as the two-state solution and 32% of Israelis and 46% of Palestinians oppose it. In June 2013, just before Palestinians and Israelis returned to negotiations, 62% of Israelis supported a two-state solution and 33% opposed it and 53% of the Palestinians supported it and 46% opposed it.
- The Saudi: Plan 64% of the Israelis and 50% of the Palestinians oppose the Saudi peace plan, 33% of the Israelis and 47% of the Palestinians support it. In June 2013, 56% of the Palestinians supported the Saudi plan and 41% opposed it, while 24% of the Israelis supported and 67% opposed 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 Israel and establish normal diplomatic relations.
(C) Conflict management and threat perceptions
- The level of threat on both sides regarding the aspirations of the other side in the long run is very high. 60% 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 24% think the goals are to annex the West Bank while denying political rights to the Palestinians. 34% among Israelis thinks that the Palestinian aspirations in the long run are to conquer the State of Israel and destroy much of the Jewish population in Israel; 21% think the goals of the Palestinians are to conquer the State of Israel. Only 15% 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 37% of Israelis think the aspirations of the Palestinians are to regain some or all of the territories conquered in 1967.
(D) US policy toward the conflict following the intensified involvement of the US in the region
Following the increase in U.S. involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we examined the attitudes towards U.S. involvement in the area.
In December 2008, immediately after the election of Barack Obama for U.S President, we examined Palestinians’ and Israelis’ expectations regarding the policy that the new Obama administration might choose to implement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since then, the our joint polls have been tracing the attitudes of both Palestinian and Israeli public, in order to determine if there has been an attitude change towards U.S. involvement in the area.
Israeli stances toward US policy under the leadership of Obama
- 23% of Israelis think that Obama’s policy is more supportive of Israel; 28% think it is more supportive of the Palestinians, and 40% think it is supportive of both sides equally. Compared to previous polls, there is a significant increase in the Israeli belief that the US policy under the leadership of Obama is more supportive of Israel or balanced. (In December 2009, 13% of Israelis thought that Obama’s policy is more supportive of Israel; 40% thought it is more supportive of the Palestinians, and 37% thought it is supportive of both sides equally; In August 2009, the relevant percentages of the Israeli public were 12%, 40% and 23% accordingly).
- This survey examined the perceptions regarding the results of a more active involvement of the U.S. in the Israeli - Palestinian conflict. If the US plays a more active role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 39% of the Israelis expect this involvement to be successful, while 29% think it will be a failure. 22% of the Israelis think it will have no impact. Compared to the poll conducted in September 2009, there is a slight decline in the expectation that US involvement under the leadership of Obama would be successful - 42% of the Israelis expected this involvement to be successful, while 30% thought it would be a failure and 18% thought it would have no impact.
- While the support for a two state solution is high, standing at 63%, opinions are divided about the right way to respond if there will be U.S. pressure to accept such a solution. 41% of Israelis think that Israel should yield to American pressure if the US under the Obama’s leadership pressures Israel to accept the two state solution. 43% of Israelis think Israel should reject such pressure. In our June 2009 Poll we found that before President Obama’s speech in Cairo, delivered at the same month, 50% of Israelis thought that Israel should yield to the American pressure if the US under the Obama’s leadership pressures Israel to accept the two state solution and 42% of them thought Israel should reject such pressure. After the speech, willingness to yield to such US pressure increased to 52%, and rejection of it decreased by 4 percentage points to 38%.
Palestinians’ stances toward US policy under the leadership of Obama
- 37% of the Palestinians support yielding to the American pressure if the US under the Obama’s leadership pressures Palestinians (and Israelis) to accept the Clinton / Geneva permanent settlement. 60% of them think that Palestinians should reject such pressure.
- 30% of the Palestinians think that most of the Palestinians will agree to yield to American pressure on Palestinians and Israelis to accept the Clinton / Geneva permanent settlement and 65% think that most Palestinians will oppose such pressure.
- 63% of the Palestinians think that most Israelis will yield to American pressure on both sides to accept the Clinton / Geneva permanent settlement and 31% think that most Israelis will oppose such pressure.