Joint Israeli Palestinian Poll, March 2012
In the aftermath of the exploratory talks in Amman, Israelis reject Palestinians’ conditions for returning to negotiations, and Palestinians oppose returning to negotiations unconditionally
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. This joint survey was conducted with the support of the Ford Foundation Cairo office and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Ramallah and Jerusalem.
The poll was conducted in the backdrop of the recent round of violent clashes in Southern Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Chances for resuming talks between Israelis and Palestinians look slim at this point, with a majority of Israelis (68%) rejecting the Palestinian conditions to stop all construction in the settlements and to commit to return to the 1967 borders, and a majority of Palestinians (58%) opposing the return to talks without fulfilling these conditions.
An overwhelming majority of Israelis (69%) supports the cooperation between Israel and the US in the bombing of Iran’s nuclear facilities, but only a minority (42%) supports such an operation by Israel without the US. Large majorities of both Israelis (73%) and Palestinians (85%) think that if Israel were to carry out a military strike against Iran a big regional war will erupt.
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 March 15 and 17, 2012. The margin of error is 3%. The Israeli sample includes 600 adult Israelis interviewed by phone in Hebrew, Arabic or Russian between March 11 and 15, 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 on the Palestinian survey contact PSR director, Prof. Khalil Shikaki or Walid Ladadweh, at tel. 02-2964933 or email email@example.com. On the Israeli survey, contact Prof Yaacov Shamir at tel. 03-6419429 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(A) Israeli military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities
- 69% of Israelis support the cooperation between the US and Israel in bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities, 26% oppose it. However support for such an operation declines dramatically to 42% with a slim majority (51%) opposing it, if Israel acts without the cooperation of the US.
- Palestinians are split in half in their assessment whether Israel will strike Iran or not: 46% think it will strike while 48% believe it will not.
- 85% of Palestinians and 73% of Israelis think that if Israel were to carry out a military strike against Iran, a major regional war will erupt; 11% of Palestinians and 22% of Israelis do not think so.
(B) Attitudes and expectations regarding the peace process
- Majorities among Israelis (64%) 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.
- With recent talk about the inevitable failure of a two-state solution, almost two thirds on the two sides oppose the one state solution in which Arabs and Jews enjoy equality: 61% of Palestinians and 64% of Israelis. 36% of Palestinians and 33% of Israelis support this solution. At the same time, 49% of Israelis think that the two-state solution is bound to fail while 44% regard it as still relevant.
- 56% of the Palestinians support the Saudi initiative and 42% oppose it, while 37% 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. In our March 2011 poll there was a similar level of support for the plan among both Israelis and Palestinians.
- In our poll we also examine periodically Israelis’ and Palestinians’ 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 55% of the Israeli publicsupport such a mutual recognition; 39% oppose it. Among Palestinians, 43% support and 55% oppose this step. In December 2011, 66% of the Israelis supported and 29% opposed this mutual recognition of identity; among Palestinians, the corresponding figures were 52% and 47%.
(C) Conflict management and threat perceptions
- Given the cessation of the Amman exploratory talks, 42% of the Israelis think that armed attacks will not stop and the two sides will not return to negotiations. 49% of the Israelis believe that negotiations will continue but some armed attacks will continue as well. Only 4% of Israelis believe negotiations will continue and armed confrontations will stop. Among the Palestinians, 18% think that some armed attacks will take place and the two sides will not return to negotiations, 25% think the two sides will soon return to negotiations and 36% think the two sides will return to negotiations but some armed attacks will take place. Finally, 16% think the two sides will not return to negotiations and there will be no armed attacks.
- Palestinians and Israelis support their government’s position with regard to return to negotiations. A majority of Israelis (68%) reject the Palestinian conditions to stop all construction in the settlements and to commit to return to the 1967 borders, and a majority of Palestinians (58%) oppose the return to talks without fulfilling these conditions.
- The hunger strike of Palestinian prisoner Khadir Adnan, declared in order to protest his administrative detention, ended with an agreement to release him after his current detention period ends. A majority of Palestinians (57%) believe that this agreement will help to end the practice of administrative detention; however a majority of 60% of Israelis oppose the abolishment of administrative detention for Palestinians.
- 62% of Israelis oppose an Israeli intervention in the events in Syria; 26% support humanitarian assistance and granting political asylum to rebels, 6% support supply of weapons and ammunition, and 3% support active intervention of the Israeli army.
- Among Israelis, 50% are worried and 50% are not worried that they or their family may be harmed by Arabs in their daily life, as they were in December 2011. Among Palestinians, 76% 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 December 2011, perception of worry among Palestinians stood at 70%.
- 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 21% 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 (42%); 22% 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 30% of Israelis think the aspirations of the Palestinians are to regain some or all of the territories conquered in 1967.
(D) Domestic affairs
- 58% of Israelis support the Supreme Court decision to strike down the “Tal Law” that allowed the ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students not to enlist to the army; 38% oppose it.
- 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. When we add to the list of political parties a party of the social protest movement, it comes out a close second to the Likud with 14% to the Likud’s 16%. 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 new presidential and parliamentary elections were to take place today, Mahmud Abbas receives 54% of the vote and Ismail Haniyeh 42% while Fateh wins 42% and Hamas 27% of the popular vote; all other parties receive 10% of the vote and 20% say they have not decided to whom they will vote.