26 October 2020  

Despite stable levels of support for a two-state solution, the two publics display substantial hardening of attitudes regarding a permanent peace package that implements that solution. Nonetheless both publics still prefer two states to any other framework for resolving the conflict. Pairs of zero-sum incentives can raise support somewhat on both sides, showing some flexibility. But trust is declining, and the majority of Palestinians, but also Israelis, agree that annexation will hinder progress towards peace.

These are the results of Palestinian-Israeli Pulse: A Joint Poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah and the Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Management at Tel Aviv University with funding from the Netherlands Representative Office in Ramallah and the Representative Office of Japan to Palestine through UNDP/PAPP.

 

MAIN HIGHLIGHTS

 

  • Support for the two-state solution remains relatively stable at 43% among Palestinians and among Israeli Jews declines just slightly from 43% in mid-2018 to 42%. Among all Israelis, Jews and Arabs, 44% in total support the two-state solution. This is the lowest level of support for this concept among Israeli Jews, and all Israelis, since the beginning of the Pulse, in June 2016. Still, fewer people on both sides support two possible alternatives to a two-state solution: one state with equal rights and one state without rights.
  •   Palestinians and Israelis were presented with a peace package identical to the one we presented to them in mid-2018 and representing a modified version of the package we presented to both sides five times during the past four years. Findings show significant drop in support among the two publics. Only 27% of Palestinians (compared to 42% in mid-2018, a 15-point drop) and 36% of Israeli Jews (compared to 45% two years ago, a 9-point drop) support a permanent peace agreement package, along with 49% of Israeli Arabs. In total, 38% of Israelis support the detailed agreement. The peace package comprises:  a de-militarized Palestinian state, an Israeli withdrawal to the Green Line with equal territorial exchange, family unification in Israel of 100,000 Palestinian refugees, West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine,  the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall under Israeli sovereignty and the Muslim and Christian quarters and the al Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount under Palestinian sovereignty, Israeli and the future state of Palestine will be democratic, the bilateral agreement will be part of a regional agreement along the lines of the Arab Peace Initiative, the US and major Arab countries will ensure full implementation of the agreement by both sides, and the end of the conflict and claims. Fifty one percent of all Israelis (56% of Israeli Jews) and 70% of Palestinians are opposed to this two-state comprehensive package.
  • The survey also tested the likely impact of previously tested zero-sum incentives on the level of support for the peace package. Drawing on six such incentives, we paired measures that show reciprocal benefits but also costs for each side. This is the second time that we have conducted this experiment. In this experiment, which was conducted among half the sample, we changed the pairs that were tested as the goal has been to pair incentives that received similar levels of success in previous test. Findings in the previous experiment, in mid-2018, showed significant success among Israeli Jews but very little success among the Palestinians. The current findings show significant potential for success among both publics, but the success among Israeli Jews remains greater: six of the six pairs generated higher levels of support for the peace package among Israeli Jews while on the Palestinian side only four generated higher levels of support. As a result, three pairs caused a majority of Jewish Israelis to say they were more likely to support the package while none of the paired incentives convinced a majority of Palestinians to say they were more likely to support the detailed two-state package.
  • Moreover, the current joint poll conducted a second experiment among the other half of the sample. In this one, we sought to understand the hierarchy of priorities for the two publics: what were their most important demands and what concessions were the most difficult for them to make versus those that were less difficult. Broadly, for Israelis the top priority for demands involved symbolic recognition of the Jewish connection to the land, and the demand that Palestinians imprison those involved in violence. However, a plurality did not believe Israel should have to make concessions in return for its own demands, indicating that Israeli demands should be unconditional. Similarly, on the Palestinian side, a majority declined to choose a specific concession Palestinians should make in return for its negotiators’ demands. Yet the top demand Palestinians prioritized was the release of Palestinian prisoners; the main concession they accepted – those who chose one – was removing incitement from textbooks.
  • A second peace package was tested in this poll: Trump’s peace plan, or the deal of the century. Like the peace package we have tested over the years, this one was broken into its most important components. The public was asked about each one and the package as a whole. Findings are dramatic: 93% of the Palestinians opposed the plan and 5% accepted it. Among Israelis, a majority of Israeli Jews (51%) accepted it, 30% rejected it, and 19% did not know or were uncertain. A large majority of Palestinians (69%) thought that Israeli Jews would accept the plan. On the Israeli side, two thirds thought the Palestinians would reject the plan. 
  • As in previous surveys, levels of trust in the other side are very low: 90% of Palestinians and 79% of Israeli Jews think the other side is not trust worthy. When asked about the role of leadership in fostering distrust: 40% of Israeli Jews, 44% of Israeli Arabs, and 34% of the Palestinians expressed the view that their side’s leadership diminishes trust with the other side. By contrast, two thirds of Israeli Jews, 38% of Israeli Arabs, and 78% of Palestinians think the leadership on the other side diminishes trust.
  • When both sides are offered four similar options for what should happen next on the conflict, 34% of the Palestinians (49% in the West Bank and 13% in the Gaza Strip) 41% of Israeli Jews choose “reach a peace agreement.” This represents a decrease in support for a peace agreement among Palestinians and Israeli Jews compared to only 41% and 45% respectively who chose this option in 2018.  37% of Palestinians (compared to 27% two years ago) opt to “wage an armed struggle against the Israeli occupation.” Among Israeli Jews, 19% call for “a definitive war with the Palestinians” compared to 20% in 2018.

 

 

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 12-26 August, 2020. The margin of error is +/-3%. The Israeli sample includes 900 adult Israelis interviewed through the internet by Midgam in Hebrew and Arabic 12 August and 3 September 2020. The number of Jews interviewed inside Israel is 500, 200 West Bank settlers, and 200 Israeli Arabs. The combined Israeli data file has been reweighted to reflect the exact proportionate size of these three groups in the Israeli society, and to reflect current demographic and religious-secular divisions. The margin of error is +/-3.34%.  The survey and the following summary have been drafted by Dr. Khalil Shikaki, director of PSR, Dr. Nimrod Rosler from Tel Aviv University and Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin. 

 

 

 MAIN FINDINGS

The following sections compare and contrast findings regarding Palestinian and Israeli public opinion in general. However, when important differences, mainly between Israeli Jews and Arabs, or between Israeli Jews living inside the Green Line and settlers living in the West Bank, or between Palestinians living in the West Bank (West Bankers) and Gazans were found, we also provide the respective findings for these sub groups. 

(1) Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process

Two-state solution: In the current survey, only 43% of Palestinians and 42% of Israeli Jews support the concept of the two-state solution; 56% of Palestinians and 46% of Israeli Jews are opposed. Two years ago,  43% on each side supported this solution. In all cases, only the general principle was provided. Among Israeli Arabs, support drops considerably from 82% two years ago to 59%, bringing the total Israeli average to 44%. As seen in Figure 1, among Jews, support for the two-state principle has seen an incremental but steady decline since June 2016, when it stood at 53%. Among Palestinians support has varied: it fell from June to December 2016, when 44% supported the basic two-state solution in principle, rose to 52% in June 2017, then declined once again to 46% and continued to decline in July 2018 and in the current poll.

Similar to previous surveys, support for the two-state solution among Palestinians, is higher in the West Bank than in the Gaza Strip, 45% and 38% respectively, among Fatah voters, and those who define themselves as “not religious” or “somewhat religious.”

Among Israelis, as in the past, the most significant variations are found between Jews and Arabs, and within the Jewish community, between the ideological and demographic groups. Israeli Jews are highly polarized along ideological lines: 91% of those who consider themselves left-wing support the two-state solution in a general question, while just under one-quarter of Jewish right-wingers support it (23%). The strong consensus on the Jewish left reflects a rebound following a decline in earlier Pulse surveys; in July 2018 support among the Jewish left dipped to 78%, still a strong majority. Jewish Israelis who define themselves as centrist show a clear majority of almost two thirds (62%) who support the two-state solution.

Demographic differences are found most visibly between levels of religious observance. Secular Jews demonstrate clear majority support for the two-state solution – two-thirds hold this view. The next “level” of religious observance, traditionalists (masorti), show the opposite trend – only one-third (32%) support a two-state solution and 58 percent are opposed (the remainder did not know). Only 15 percent and 12 percent of national religious and Haredi Israelis, respectively, support a two-state solution while strong majorities, 70 percent of the religious and 63 percent of Haredi respondents, oppose this approach.

Further, over roughly the last decade, there has been a consistent trend of more right-leaning attitudes among younger Jewish Israelis compared to older groups. Accordingly, just 28 percent of those 18-34 years old support the two-state solution, while 58 percent oppose it. The portion of supporters is ten points higher (38%) among the 35-54 group, while sixty percent of Israeli Jews over 55 years old support it and just 31 percent oppose two states – practically a reversal of the trend relative to the youngest group.  

Arab Israeli respondents show similar differentiation of support by age, in which younger people are less supportive, although with somewhat less polarization. Among 18-34 year old Arab respondents, nearly half (49%) support the two-state solution, and over one-quarter (26%) oppose it – a large portion, 25 percent say they do not know. Among the older age groups, from 35 to those over 55, well over 70 percent support two states (73% and 79% respectively). However, among Arab respondents, there is little significant variation by levels of religious observance: about 60 percent support two states among those who are moderately religious or religious, while 68 percent of non-religious Arab Israelis support the two-state solution.

 

Declining support linked to low perceived feasibility. To understand the division of opinion about the two-state solution, it is useful to consider the findings regarding the feasibility and implementation of a two-state solution. When asked about the chances that an independent Palestinian state will be established in the next five years, among Palestinians, only 4% view the chances as high or very high that such a state will be established in the next five years; 76% of Palestinians say the chances are low or very low.

Among Israeli Jews a large majority of over three quarters (78%) believe the chances are low or very low – this is nearly unchanged from the 2018 survey (81% at that time, within the margin of error). There is only slight variation among Israelis living in the West Bank – among those, 84% believe the chances of establishing a Palestinian state are low or very low. Arab respondents in general are somewhat more optimistic, but still a majority of 59% view the chances as low or very low; 22% give “medium” chances. Among all Israelis and all sub-populations, fewer than ten percent give high or very high chances to the creation of a Palestinian state over the next five years. 

As in the past, respondents were asked if they believe that the two-state solution is still possible, in light of settlement spread. The current survey asked the same tracking question as those from the previous wave. Among Israelis, the findings have been stable for nearly two years – a very slight plurality of Jews believe it is no longer feasible, compared to those who believe it is, 45% to 43%, respectively. However, as in other areas of the survey, the change among Arab respondents is much more pronounced. Those who believe the two-state solution is still viable have dropped 20 points from the July 2018 survey, to just 45% at present and by 30 points compared to the December 2017 finding. As a result, the Israeli total at present is tied: 43% think the solution is still viable, and 43% believe it is not (the remainder don’t know). In July 2018, 48% thought it was viable, a slight plurality, while 45% thought it was not.

The change in perceptions of viability is more pronounced among Palestinians. Since June 2017 the portion who believe this solution is no longer viable has been rising fairly steadily, and reaches a peak of 65% in the currently survey – nearly two-thirds – while fewer than one-third of Palestinians now believe the two-state solution is viable, due to settlement spread.

Notably, among Israeli Jews there is a stark contrast between younger and older respondents, as on many issues related to the two-state solution. Presumably due to growing up during a time when the idea of reaching a negotiated two-state solution has not been prominent on the political agenda, as well as being generally more right-leaning, just one-third of Jews aged 18-34 believe this solution is still possible, while 55% believe it is no longer feasible. This trend is completely the reverse of the oldest respondents: a 56% majority of Jews aged 55+ believe the two-state solution is still viable, while just one-third (32%) believe it is not. Among Arab Israelis too, with some variations, the pattern holds: a 48% plurality of the youngest, the 18-24 year old respondents, believe the solution is no longer viable, but this group is the outlier – among all other age groups a majority believe the solution is viable. The latter belief is strongest among the oldest group, 63% (although this is a small number of respondents in the sample).

Among Palestinians, there is less variation in responses to the question of viability, but in this case the youngest respondents (18-24 years) are slightly more likely believe the solution is viable – 40%, compared to 30% of the oldest respondents (55+). This is consistent with our previous findings in 2016 and 2018 and it probably reflects the refusal of the youth to acknowledge the role of settlement expansion in determining the fate of the two-state solution.  

Two competing alternatives to the two-state solution: One state with equal rights, one state without equal rights, and confederation  

The joint poll sought to ascertain the breakdown of Palestinians and Israelis regarding various alternatives to the two-state solution. Two alternative options were offered: (1) one state solution with equal rights for Jews and Palestinians was offered to all those who rejected the two-state solution (one democratic state); and (2) one state solution in which one side or the other is denied equal rights was offered to those who rejected the two-state solution and the one democratic state.

As the two pies in Figure 2 show, the largest constituency is the one that supports the two-state solution. In the survey, each respondent was asked each question separately. In the following analysis, all respondents who support a two-state solution are excluded from the next categories of support (for one equal state, and one unequal state) to avoid overlap, and the remaining public is assigned one alternative after the other, each time eliminating overlap, to ascertain the size of each constituency. Among those who do not support two states, the public splits between the two alternatives (one equal democratic state, or one non-equal state – referred to here as apartheid. The confederation approach is not included in this analysis as it is rather an alternate version of two states.) The category called “other” refers to respondents who either rejected all options or responded “do not know.”

The findings among the Palestinians are almost identical to those of mid- 2018 with the exception of the significant rise in the support for “other” from 22% to 39%. Israeli Jews too show a marked rise in the percentage of those who selected “other,” in all three questions, from 16% to 27%.  But support for the option of a single democratic state dropped among Israeli Jews from 19% to 10% while support for support for apartheid increased from 15% to 22%”. The previous study in 2018 included a third alternative for those who did not support the two-state solution: expulsion or transfer. This was not included in the current study and in all likelihood explains the rise of respondents who fall into the "other" group on both sides.    

On the Palestinian side, as indicated earlier, there is a difference between Gazans and West Bankers in their preferences for the two-state solution. But, as Figure 3 below shows, the two areas are almost identical in the way they view the two proposed alternatives, one democratic state and an apartheid state, with about 10% for each. Nonetheless, the largest percentage of Gazans (44%) supports unidentified alternatives, referred to in the chart below as “other,” while 35% of West Bankers selected this “other.”  As the chart also indicates, religiosity affects support for the two-state solution and the “other” solution or solutions. Religious respondents are less likely to support it (39%) and the “not religious” are more likely to support it (53%). The Gaza-West Bank difference mentions above reflects a major difference between the two regions in the level of religiosity (65% of Gazans and 41% of West Bankers describe themselves are religious), a factor that contributes, as the chart below shows, to a reduced level of support for the two-state solution and a greater support for “other”.

Gaps also emerge when looking at the Palestinian political affiliation or vote preferences (Figure 4), with likely voters of Fatah showing majority support (51%) while supporters of Hamas and third parties standing at 40% and unaffiliated and undecided at 45%.  It is worth noting that the highest support among Hamas voters goes to the “other” solutions followed by the two-state solution. It is worth noting that support for Fatah, among likely voters, stands in this poll as 35%, Hamas at 32%, and third parties at 8%, and the unaffiliated/undecided at 25%.

As in all previous surveys, the Israeli public is extremely divided internally over the two-state solution. Compared to other solutions, such as one democratic state or a two-state confederation, the two-state solution still enjoys a higher level of overall support, 44% among all Israelis and 42% for Israeli Jews.

However, in the elimination analysis shown in the pie chart (Figure 2), the next largest portion is “other” – referring to those respondents who did not support two states, but declined to choose an answer for any of the other options, and instead responded “don’t know.” The fact that this category is the second largest – 27% of Israeli Jews and fully 39% of Palestinians – indicates a growing trend in public thought: that there is no political framework that is viewed as an apt or acceptable resolution of the conflict. On both sides this is the second largest group; on the Palestinian side those who do not choose solution are just a few points fewer than two-state supporters. 

The portion of those who refrain from choosing any solution is highest, however, among the Israeli hardline communities, particularly among the more religious groups (see Figure 5). Secular Israeli Jews were the only community in which a majority – and a strong two-thirds majority, prefer a two-state solution to any other; among traditionalists, national religious and ultra-orthodox, the largest constituency (once those who support two states are eliminated from the analysis) is those who refrained from supporting any solution at all.

When looking at the political spectrum, a majority of support for the two-state solution is found among the left and the center but not the right (see Figure 6). Among the “moderate right,” at 29%, support for the two-state solution is higher than the two alternative options offered, and lower only than the portion who declined to support any alternative. Those who define themselves as “right” support apartheid by 42% followed by two states (15%). It is worth noting that the size of the moderate right category in this poll is 33%, the right 26%, the “center” 24%, the moderate left 11%, and the left 3% of the Jewish sample. 

Finally, when looking at Israeli Arabs, as the pie in Figure 7 shows, support for the two-state solution, as indicated above, is high, followed by support for the one democratic state solution.

Confederation:

The alternative of a two-state confederation has been tested in the joint survey since December 2016, when it was asked in a general way with minimal explanation, then in later surveys with somewhat more detail.

Some people recommend the following solution: the creation of two states, Palestine and Israel, which enter into a confederation whereby citizens of one country are allowed to live as permanent residents in the territory of the other but each national group votes only in its state for elections. There would be freedom of movement for all, and Jerusalem is not divided but serves as the capital of two states. Israel and Palestine would deal jointly with security and the economy.  

 

Since testing began, support rose among the Israeli public from 28% in December 2018, to a high of 39% in late 2017. In the current survey, this support reverts back to 30% among Israelis, almost precisely the range of support among Palestinians from December 2017 onwards (28% in December 2017 and 29% today).

Among the Israeli public, the pattern shows that support among Jews declined three points compared to the previous survey (from 31 to 28% support), but much more dramatically among Arab Israelis – from over two thirds in July 2018 (68%) to just 44% in August 2020. This is consistent the overall sharp drop among Arab respondents in other questions related to solutions.

The most consistent change in that time appears among the Israeli Jewish left. Among this group support has risen steadily since the question was first asked, from 35% in the first survey (December 2016) to 56% - an eight-point rise since two years earlier, and the first time support among this group reaches an absolute majority.

By contrast, Palestinian support remains fairly unchanged overall from December 2017, in the 30% range. The pattern for confederation follows Palestinian trends related to the other options: a slightly stronger starting point in December 2016, a rise in mid-2017, but lower attitudes towards all solution since that time.

Peace and violence. When given four possible options regarding what should happen next in Palestinian-Israeli relations, findings show similarities between the preferences of Israeli Jews and West Bank Palestinians but major differences emerge between these two groups and the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. West Bankers and Israeli Jews prefer to “reach a peace agreement” with the other side (49% and 41% respectively). But the preference for this outcome declines to 13% among Gazans. Total Palestinian preference for a peace agreement stands at 34%. Two years ago, 45% of the Israelis and 41% of the Palestinians chose this option. Overall Palestinian preference for a second option, “waging an armed struggle,” stands at 37% (26% in the West Bank and 54% in the Gaza Strip) and the preference for “waging a definitive war against the Palestinians” stands at 19% among Israeli Jews. Two years ago, 27% of Palestinians and 20% of Israelis chose this option. A third option, “waging an unarmed resistance,” was chosen by 10% of the Palestinians and annexation was chosen by 12% of Israeli Jews. Finally, 13% of the Palestinians and 14% of Israeli Jews chose “maintain the status quo.”

 

Detailed peace packages for implementation  

As in all five previous surveys of the current series of joint polls, Palestinians and Israelis were asked in this survey to support or oppose a detailed combined peace package based on the two-state solution, gathered from previous rounds of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. The package included 12 items addressing all issues of the so-called permanent status negotiations, such as borders, security, settlements, Jerusalem, and refugees and several other matters, such as mutual recognition, end of conflict, external guarantees, and the Arab Peace Initiative. In the 2020 survey, the details for a two-state solution incorporate three of the most successful incentives from the previous phase of research, alongside the common features of the two-state plan that have been tested in the past.

Palestinians and Israelis were asked to respond first to each item separately, as component parts; following the 12 items they were asked if they support or opposed the combined package, and given a short summary of the basic elements.

  • Israeli support was significantly lower than the last survey two years earlier: In August 2020, just 38% of Israelis in total supported the detailed plan, and 36% of Jews (see Figure 8). This is a decline relative to both the original and enhanced plan examined in July 2018: at that time, the “original” package that did not incorporate the strong incentives received 46% support from all Israelis, while the enhanced detailed two-state agreement – the one tested in the current survey – was supported by a majority of 53% among all Israelis (45% of Israeli Jews). Therefore, support among the Israeli population for the identical plan fell 15 points.
  • The decline is seen among both the Jewish and Arab respondents: support among Jews fell from 45% in 2018 to 36% today, a nine point decline. Among Arabs, as in other parts of the survey, support fell more dramatically – at 49% it is still higher than support among Jews, following a long-standing pattern. But in 2018, 91% of the Arab respondents supported this plan.
  • Similarly, Palestinian support for the package is significantly lower than the last survey conducted two years ago: only 27% of those who were asked about the agreement, compared to 42% in June-July 2018, said they would support it.  A majority of 70% opposed the package.  As the chart below shows, the current level of support for the package is the lowest since it has been first presented to the Palestinians in June 2016.

Items of an agreement. A detailed breakdown of attitudes regarding the twelve components of the package follows (non-italicized questions were asked of Israeli Jews and if no other wording appears, also for Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. Italics refer to the questions worded separately for Palestinians; some of the Palestinian wordings were used for Israeli Arabs).

  1. Mutual recognition of Palestine and Israel as the homelands of their respective peoples. The agreement will mark the end of conflict, the Palestinian state will fight terror against Israelis, and no further claims will be made by either side. 68% of Israeli Jews support this item.

Mutual recognition of Palestine and Israel as the homelands of their respective peoples. The agreement will mark the end of conflict, Israel will fight terror against Palestinians, and no further claims will be made by either side. 33% of Palestinians support mutual recognition and 58% of Israeli Arabs support mutual recognition.

  1. The independent Palestinian state which will be established in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be demilitarized (no heavy weaponry). Only 12% of Palestinians support this (10% in the West Bank and 15% in the Gaza Strip).  Among Israeli Jews, 53% support this item and among Israeli Arabs only 29% support it – once again Arab support declined significantly relative to the previous survey.
  2. The future Palestinian state will have a democratic political system based on rule of law, periodic elections, free press, strong parliament, independent judiciary and equal rights for religious and ethnic minorities as well as strong anti-corruption measures. The state of Israel will have a democratic political system whereby Israeli law formally guarantees equality of Arab Israeli citizens, who will have equal rights as Israeli Jews by law.  Among the Palestinians, support stands at 43%.  Among Israeli Jews: 66% support this, and 43% of Arab respondents. Here too, support from Israeli Arabs dropped significantly from 2018.
  3. A multinational force will be established and deployed in the Palestinian state to ensure the security and safety of both sides. Among Palestinians, 35% support this,  4 point rise from 2018. Israeli Jews support stands at 59% - an eleven point rise from 2018, and Israeli Arab support at 51%.
  4. The Palestinian state will have full sovereignty over its air space, its land, and its water resources, but Israel will maintain two early warning stations in the West Bank for 15 years. 24% of Palestinians support this. Among Israeli Jews and Arabs alike, 41% support this item.
  5. The Palestinian state will be established in the entirety of West Bank and the Gaza strip, except for several blocs of settlement which will be annexed to Israel in a territorial exchange. Israel will evacuate all other settlements. 22% of Palestinians support this (16% among West Bankers and 31% among Gazans). 36% of Israeli Jews support this and 39% of Arabs support it.
  6. The territories Palestinians will receive in exchange will be similar to the size of the settlement blocs that will be annexed to Israel. 19% of Palestinians support the territorial exchange (16% in the West Bank and 24% in the Gaza Strip). 35% of Israeli Jews support this, and 42% of Israeli Arabs.  
  7. West Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem the capital of the Palestinian state. Less than a quarter (23%) of Jews support this item. 

East Jerusalem will be the capital of the Palestinian state and West Jerusalem the capital of the Israel. 18% of Palestinians support this (20% in the West Bank and 16% in the Gaza Strip). 40% of Israeli Arabs support this item.

  1. In the Old City of Jerusalem, the Jewish quarter and the Wailing Wall will come under Israeli sovereignty and the Muslim and Christian quarters and Temple Mount will come under Palestinian sovereignty. 23% of Israeli Jews support the Old City arrangement.

In the Old City of Jerusalem, the Muslim and Christian quarters and al Haram al Sharif will come under Palestinian sovereignty and the Jewish quarter and the Wailing Wall will come under Israeli sovereignty. 18% of Palestinians support the division of the Old City (20% in the West Bank and 16% in the Gaza Strip). 41% of Israeli Arabs support this.

  1. Palestinian refugees will have the right of return to their homeland whereby the Palestinian state will settle all refugees wishing to live in it. Israel will allow the return of about 100,000 Palestinians as part of a of family unification program. All other refugees will be compensated.  36%of Palestinians support this (34% in the West Bank and 39% in the Gaza Strip). 48% of Palestinians supported this item in 2018. This item receives the lowest support from Israeli Jews out of all the items tested: just 13% of Jews (an 8-point drop from 2018) support the arrangement on refugees, and among Israeli Arabs 55% support it.
  2. The agreement will include formal guarantees by the US, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who will create a joint commission to ensure proper implementation on both sides.  Among the Palestinians, support stands at 28% (20% in the West Bank and 40% in the Gaza Strip). For this item, Israeli Jews actually showed slightly higher support than in 2018, 53% compared to 46%  at that time; a rise that may be linked to the announcement of a deal between Israel and the UAE during the period of data collection. 47% of Israeli Arabs support it this item.
  3. The agreement will be part of a larger peace agreement with all Arab states according to the Arab Peace Initiative. Among the Palestinians, support stands at 32% (28% in the West Bank and 39% in the Gaza Strip).  In 2018, support for this item stood at 46%. 59% of Israeli Jews support this, which is also an eight-point rise from 2018,  and 53% of Israeli Arabs support it.

 

Perception of social support for package.  After considering all the detailed items included in a two-state peace plan and being asked to support or oppose each one, as well as the total package, each side was asked how they perceive the support of majority of their fellow citizens for the two-state package. On both sides, respondents perceive their own society’s support for the original plan to be low.

Israelis were asked whether they believe the majority of Israeli Jews support or oppose it – just 18% said they believe the majority of Israeli Jews support it. Settlers living in the West Bank showed a lower rate, with just 11% who believe Jewish Israelis support it, and only slightly higher among Arab Israeli respondents – 22%. These assessments have declined somewhat from the previous survey, when 23% of Israelis believe the majority of Jews would support it, and a steady decline during recent years. However, the perception of majority support is lower than reality; in fact, 36% of Jews support the total two-state package in the current survey – double the portion who believe a majority of Jews support it (49% of Arab respondents, and 38% among the total of Israeli respondents support the package.

When Palestinians were asked if most Palestinians would support the plan, 25% stated that most would support it. And when asked if they believe the other side would embrace the peace package, a majority of 54% of Palestinians believed a majority of Jews might support the plan. By contrast, only 18% of Israelis thought the majority of Palestinians would accept the plan, respectively.

Regional and demographic trends. The internal breakdowns of each population show which sub-groups respond differently to the peace plan. Among Palestinians, there are variations in responses primarily by region, political affiliation and levels of religious observance (see Figure 9).

  • As in previous surveys, Gaza respondents are more supportive of the agreement. 31% of all Gazans supported the new plan. Among West Bank respondents, 25% supported the plan. It is worth noting that while support for the two-state solution among Gazans is lower than it is among West Bankers, as indicated earlier, support in the Gaza Strip for the peace package is higher than it is in the West Bank. However, in both regions, support for the concept of the two-state solution is higher than the support they give to the detailed package.
  • Among Fatah supporters, 38% support the package, a 19 point drop compared to our findings in mid-2018. Surprisingly, support among Hamas voters rose from 21% in 2018 to 25% in the current poll.
  • Support for the package is higher among those who are less religious, and lower among those who are more religious. Among Palestinians who define themselves as “not religious” a majority of 51% supports the package. Support among the religious stands at 23%.
  • Young Palestinians between 18 and 22 years of age, which in past surveys were associated with hardline views, show little or no age differences this time.

Among Israelis, as shown in Figure 10, the internal breakdowns of the population show variations similar to those related to the general question about a two-state solution. These patterns are consistent over the years, with higher support among the left, low support on the right; higher support among secular Jews, but only a minority who support it among all other more religious groups." Arabs in general support the detailed two-state package at a higher rate than Jews – but far less than in 2018.

  • A majority of left-wing Israeli Jews (70%) and among centrist Jews (54%) support the total package. Among the Jewish right-wing, just 20% supports the detailed package
  • The religiosity divide remains strong among Jews: Among seculars, a 55% majority support the plan, but just 28% among masortim (traditionalists) and fewer among the religious and ultra-orthodox (14% and 16% respectively).
  • There is a modest age gap: 35% of the youngest Jewish Israelis (18-24) support it, and 50% of Jewish respondents 65 and above support the detailed package.


Feasibility - doubts. Beyond demographic and political differences that typically characterize those who support or oppose the two-state solution and the detailed package, background attitudes are also clearly linked to support. The perception of viability is important.  Among Israelis who believe that the two-state solution is still viable, 82% support the two-state solution; among those who think it is not viable due to settlement spread, only 13% support it, while 78% of all Israelis who believe the solution is no longer viable also oppose this solution in the general question about the concept. Similarly, as shown in Figure 11, the perception of viability is also clearly linked to support or opposition to the detailed package for a two-state solution: 63% of Israelis who believe the solution to be feasible, also support the package, but just 18% of those who think this solution is no longer viable.

Among the Palestinians who believe that the two-state solution is still viable, 78% support the package declining to 21% among those who believe it is no longer viable.  

INCENTIVE PAIRS

The current survey includes two experiments that aimed at testing the value of incentives in two ways: (1) Separately pairing some of the zero-sum incentives in order to determine their benefits as well as the harm they might inflict on the support for the peace package; and (2) presenting the respondents with some of the most important list of demands from their side and from the other side and asking them to determine their side’s priorities: what demands are the most important and what concessions are acceptable.  Half of the sample on each side was asked to participate in the first exercise and the other half was asked to participate in the second exercise. For the Israelis, only Jews were asked to participate in these exercises.

First experiment: For the second time, we considered a new mode of testing incentives. In the first four surveys of the Pulse, most of the incentives proposed were developed specifically for one side or the other. To offset the possibility that an incentive for one side, such as the zero-sum measures, might alienate the other side, in the June 2018 survey and in the current one we paired incentives to show reciprocal benefits to each side. The incentives were paired based on the priorities attached to them by the two publics, drawing on six items, representing some of the top-ranked incentives from the previous surveys of the Pulse

Respondents in the selected half of the sample were asked directly if these pairs – an incentive to their own side coupled with a benefit to the other side – raised or lowered their support for an agreement. All respondents were asked these questions, not only those who rejected the agreement. The goal was to see whether in a real situation where people are likely to learn of all benefits/incentives offered to all sides, whether respondents of either disposition would switch: would supporters defect and oppose an agreement, would rejectionists possibly switch towards support? And for those who had not made up their mind, could the mutual incentives convince them to support an agreement, or push them to oppose it?

The following is the list of pairs tested:

1: Jewish character and Palestinian prisoners: The state of Palestine will acknowledge the Jewish character of the state of Israel and will recognize the Jewish religious and historic roots in the historic land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael) and Israel will commit to releasing all Palestinian prisoners when the peace agreement takes effect. 

2: Security cooperation and Israeli military presence: The Palestinian government will commit to ongoing security cooperation with Israeli security forces, and Israel in return will agree to end its military presence in the territories of the Palestinian state.

3: Visits to Holy places: As a sign of reconciliation, Jews will be allowed to visit at the Temple Mount/al Haram al Sharif and Palestinians will be allowed to visit the Western Wall, while at the same time affirming that neither religious group interferes or attempts to change the status of either holy site.

4: Recognition of Nakba and Holocaust: The state of Israel will recognize the Nakba and apologize for the suffering of the Palestinian refugees and Palestinians will recognize the Holocaust and express sympathy with the suffering of the Jews at the hands of at the hands of their persecutors.

5: Combat incitement: The state of Palestine and the state of Israel will agree to combat incitement against the other and if necessary make changes in school textbooks to remove any such incitement, and to call for tolerance and reconciliation and to fight against violence

6 Palestinian laborers and Israeli factories: Israel will allow an agreed number of Palestinian laborers to continue to work in Israel if they wish to do so, and Palestine will allow Israeli factories to continue operating in its territory if they wish to do so.

 

Since all respondents in this half-sample, both those who supported the package and those who opposed it, received these questions, those who said the item raised their support but who already supported the initial agreement were set aside, and the same for those opposed. Focusing on those who switched sides, we then calculated new levels of predicted support following each pair.

Comparing just those who opposed the plan in the current survey, the average responses for the paired, mutual incentives is as follows:

Among Israeli Jews, respondents displayed wide variation in their assessment of the incentive pairs. Broadly speaking, those who opposed the detailed two-state peace package at the start reacted in similar ways to those who supported the two-state peace package: The strongest incentive pairs, those that were most successful in convincing the opposition camp, were also the least likely to cause supporters of the initial plan to defect.

As seen in the table below, the incentive of combatting incitement and changing textbooks if needed – in both the Palestinian and Israeli state – was the most attractive to the opposition respondents: nearly seven-in-ten said this made them more likely to support the two-state package agreement. Just a small segment of the initial supporters would defect based on this condition (12%).

From a measure viewed as highly symbolic, the next most successful incentive pair was allowing Israeli factories to remain inside the West Bank, while allowing Palestinian workers to work inside Israel – a very pragmatic, concrete policy item. Here too, a majority of those originally opposed said this would make them more likely to support a two-state package agreement (63%), while just a small minority of supporters said it made them less likely to do so (13%).

 

Thus overall, an average of 45% of Israeli Jews changed their minds from rejection of the full package to support based on the incentive pairs, but this average contains wide deviation among the different items offered.

Among Palestinians, the average portion of those who changed from rejection to support is just 21%, with significantly less variation in response to the different incentives. In 2018, only 14% made the switch from rejection to support based on incentive pairs.  This percentage is significantly lower than the 41% of rejectionists who changed to support when the incentives were first tested separately (as items that were beneficial to one side, without a corresponding “cost”)  between 2016-18, in the first four surveys of the Pulse.

The following table summarizes the change generated by the incentive pairs for those who opposed the peace package and those who supported that package:

This finding reflects the fact that each side is offered a benefit but it comes packaged together with an item for the other side, which apparently dampens enthusiasm compared to the original incentives. At the same time, the fact that on both sides and for each incentive-pair, some portion of opposition switched to support means that there is some potential.

Therefore, the next valuable comparison is the original level of support in the current survey, for the permanent status package, among the two societies, compared to the new levels of support following each pair. In other words, the analysis below calculated all defections from support to opposition, along with switchers from opposition to support, to determine the new levels of support or opposition. The graphs in Figure 12 show the findings for the Israeli side (the baseline support indicates the half-sample who were given these incentive pairs).

On the Israeli side, the shift to more support among the opposition and defections among supporters based on the pairs ultimately shows a fairly successful set of incentives. This relative success of the pairs is seen in the fact that all six items generated higher levels of support (those who said the item raised their support for the current plan) than the initial level for the comprehensive plan, among Israeli Jews. While support for the detailed plan stood at 34% for the half-sample that was given these incentive pairs, even the least successful pairs caused 38% to say the incentive (coupled with an incentive for the Palestinians side) made them more likely to support the plan.

Ending incitement on both sides was the most effective of all incentive pair, consistent with findings from 2018. At that time, the net shift led to 61% support for the plan; at present, out of all respondents, fully 74% said it made them more likely to support the two-state detailed package.

The second most effective pair was the notion that Israeli owned factories could remain in the new Palestinian state, while Palestinian workers would be allowed to continue coming to Israel – this caused fully 71% of all Israeli Jews to say it made them more likely to support the plan.

The two most symbolic pairs – involving mutual recognition of each side’s historic and religious attachment to the land, as well as mutual recognition of the Holocaust and the Nakba – received the lowest portion who said it raised their likelihood of supporting the package, 38% each.

The incentive of ongoing security cooperation, coupled with Israel agreeing to remove the army from the areas of the Palestinian state, raised support for 48% of Israeli Jews, and 50% said they were more likely to support the two-state peace plan if given access to visit the Temple Mount – in return, Palestinians would be allowed to visit the Western Wall, while both sides agree not to change the status quo or interfere in each site.

Among Palestinians, the pairs were less successful than they were among the Israelis as only three out of the six paired incentives proved effective in substantially increasing support for the package from the baseline of 28%. This baseline is based on the responses of half of the sample, those who took part in the first experiment in which paired incentives were offered. As indicated earlier, total support for the package stood at 27%. One pair in particular, Palestinian laborers and Israeli factories, proved most successful by increasing support for the package by 18 points, to 46%. The second most effective pair proposed concessions related to security cooperation and the ending of Israeli military presence, increasing support by 11 points, to 39%, followed by commitment from both sides to combat incitement, increasing support by 8 points, to 36%. 

Most importantly, our findings show that the four most successful pairs for the Palestinians are also effective, or more so, for Israeli Jews, as indicated above.  One paired incentive proved successful for the Israeli sides and neutral for the Palestinians: the recognition of the Nakba and Holocaust, increasing support for the package among the Israelis to 38% and keeping support among Palestinians unchanged.

A second experiment considered a new mode of testing incentives.  We presented the respondents with some of the most important demands from their side and from the other side and asked them to determine their own side’s priorities: what demands are the most important to them, and what concessions are acceptable that their own side might make. Below is a list of Israeli and Palestinian demands and concessions:  

These demands and concessions were asked through an exercise in which respondents were told that the other side’s negotiating team would be making a specific demand of them, and then asked which concession they would ask of the other side, in order to consider meeting the demands. The respondents were offered a list of four demands their side could make and asked to choose (respondents could also chose none). This was repeated for three hypothetical demands by the other side.

Next, each respondent was told that its negotiators would be making specific demands of the other side, then asked which  concession they would be most willing to offer in return, from the list of four.

This exercise was conducted among half samples (those who did not receive the incentive pairs); on the Israeli side among Jews only.

Palestinians were reminded of three Israeli demands raised by Israeli leaders in the past. In response to each one of these demands, Palestinians were asked to select their own counter demand from among four important such demands raised by their negotiators in previous rounds of talks. In response to the first Israeli demand, that Palestinians “agree to recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people,” the largest percentage (33%) selected the request to “release all Palestinian prisoners.” One fifth selected the Palestinian request that the Israeli government “recognize the Palestinian religious and historic homeland in historic Palestine.” Only 7% selected the request to “allow Palestinian citizens, such as refugees, to live in Israel without becoming Israeli citizens,” and 4% selected the request that Israel “issues an apology to Palestinian refugees for the pain and suffering inflicted on them during the 1948 war.”

This hierarchy of priorities for the Palestinian respondents was repeated almost in the same exact order in response to a second and third Israeli demands. In response to the second demand: “the removal from Palestinian textbooks all material deemed inciting against Jews;” 34% selected the release of prisoners, 19% selected the recognition of Palestinian religious and historic homeland, 6% selected the request to allow Palestinians to live in Israel, and 5% requested the apology.  In response to the third Israeli demand: “to commit to imprison every person involved in violent activities against Israel,” 31% selected the first Palestinian demand, 14% selected the second, 7% selected the fourth demand, and 6% selected the third demand. It should be noted that in the three cases, between 30% and 37% of the respondents refused to make a request from Israel, thereby indicating that the Israeli demands were unacceptable regardless of what Israel would offer in return. 

In a second set of questions, respondents were asked to offer concessions to Israel in response to three demands made by the Palestinian negotiators. In response to the first demand, “release of prisoners,” the largest percentage (20%) selected the concession that demanded the “removal of incitement” from textbooks and between 5% and 9% selected three other concessions requested by Israel. The same pattern repeated itself in response to the other two Palestinian demands: the apology and allowing some Palestinians to live in Israel. It is worth emphasizing however that the majority of Palestinian respondents, between 55% and 62%, refused to offer any concessions from among those proposed.  

For the series of three questions in which the Israeli Jews were told that the Palestinian negotiators demand various items, the results showed a mixture of pragmatism and symbolism.

  • When told that Palestinian negotiators would demand that Israel release all Palestinian prisoners, the top demand Israeli Jewish respondents made in return was that Palestinian leaders commit to imprisoning anyone involved in violent activities against Israel (31% chose this, with similar results among settlers and Jewish respondents within the Green Line). One quarter chose the demand that Palestinians recognize the land of Israel as the historic homeland of the Jewish people, and just under one-quarter declined to choose any demand that they would consider a reciprocal trade.
  • When told that Palestinian negotiators would ask that Israel apologize for the suffering of Palestinian refugee as a result of the events 1948, this time the symbolic recognition of Israel as the historic Jewish homeland was cited in first place, by one-quarter of respondents. In the second place, nearly one-quarter (23%) said chose “none of these” demands of Palestinians. The three remaining demands (commitment to imprisoning Palestinians involved in violence, Palestinian recognition of Jews expelled from Arab countries in 1948, and Palestinians removing incitement from textbooks) received similar levels of support each – 16%, 18% and 15%, respectively).
  • When told that Palestinian negotiators would ask to allow some agreed number of Palestinians, including refugees, to be allowed to live in Israel as residents (not citizens), once again one-quarter chose to demand symbolic recognition of Israel as the historic home of the Jewish people. Once again just over one-quarter declined to choose a reciprocal demand, but the second most frequently chosen demand was that Palestinian leadership commits to imprisoning those involved in violence (18%).

These show a fairly consistent pattern in which Israelis believe that recognition of the land of Israel as the historic Jewish homeland is the most commonly cited demand they would make of Palestinians, in response to three of the Palestinian demands. Only for one Palestinian demand, regarding security prisoners, did the Israeli preference change to a more practical, less symbolic issue, that Palestinians must apprehend those involved in violence. In all cases, about one-quarter (just above or just below), selected the option “none of the demands.” It is worth noting that in open responses, Israeli Jews expressed their opinion mostly in hardline directions in response, such as “there is no need to give any concessions”.

However, a different trend was found with regard to Israeli demands of Palestinians. When told that their own Israeli negotiators would be asking certain concessions of Palestinians, and asked which concessions they would be willing to have Israel make in return, the results showed greater intransigence.

In this case, for each demand that Israeli negotiators would make of Palestinians, the largest portion of Israeli Jews refused to select any concession in return that Israel should make. The portion ranged from 39% to 46%, nearly half, who selected “none of these” rather than choose a specific concession Israel could make in return for its demands. This indicates that from the perspective of the Israeli Jewish respondents, their demands ought to be viewed as unconditional.

  • For example, the expectation that Palestinian leadership imprison those involved in violence against Israel led 46% of Israeli Jews to refrain from choosing any concession in return, including 63% of the settlers. From the concession that were offered, there was only moderate variation; the highest portion (14%) chose to apologize for the suffering of Palestinian refugees due to the events of 1948.
  • Similarly, when told that Israel would demand the removal of incitement from Palestinian school textbooks, 44% of respondents declined to choose a concession they would like Israel to offer. In this case, a higher portion selected the apology to Palestinians for the suffering of 1948 – 27% (although just 18%) of settlers. But once again the plurality of nearly half who avoid offering a concession indicates that this viewed as an unconditional demand.
  • In return for the symbolic Israeli demand of recognition that the land of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, slightly fewer, 39%, selected “none” and instead 21% each chose either an apology for Palestinian suffering or allowing a portion of Palestinians and refugees to live in Israel as residents.

It is notable that an apology to Palestinians for the suffering caused by 1948 was among the higher-ranked responses when choosing concessions, despite the long-standing sensitivity of this issue. However, at each point, roughly one-quarter chose this item, showing reluctance on the part of Israelis in general when it comes to offering concessions for their negotiating demands.

 

(2) The Trump Plan (Deal of the Century):

Palestinian and Israeli respondents were asked about their views on the Trump plan, the “deal of the century,’ and its various components.  Ten components were presented:

1 A demilitarized Palestinian state would be created after a transitional period of four years, and the state of Israel recognizes Palestine as the state of the Palestinian people and  in which the Palestinian side recognizes Israeli as the state of the Jewish people

2 The Palestinian state would be created only if Palestinians fulfill a number of criteria including democratic governance and rule of law, constructing financial institutions, demilitarization including full dismantling of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, ending all incitement against Israel in schools

3 The plan allows Israel to have sovereignty over East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley and all Israeli settlements, about 30%of the West Bank , and the Palestinians are allowed to have sovereignty over most of the remaining West Bank territories – about 70% - and over two Israeli areas in the Negev close to the Gaza Strip

4 The plan allows the possibility that some areas of the Triangle in Israel, such as the towns of  as TayibeKafr Qasim and Qalansawe could come under Palestinian sovereignty

5 Jerusalem is to be unified under Israeli sovereignty including the Arab neighborhoods which Israel annexed with the exception of those areas located today outside the Jerusalem wall, such as Kofor Aqab, and these areas or Abu Dis can become the Palestinian capital

6 The Old City of Jerusalem will come under Israeli sovereignty including al Haram al Sharif and al Aqsa Mosque and current status quo would be maintained in terms of Muslim access for prayer and under the waqf supervision and Jordanian custodianship but Jews would be allowed to pray in al Haram al Sharif during time periods allocated to them.

7 Israel would have overriding security control over all Palestinian territories and all borders and international crossings in the West Bank while security arrangements would be implemented in the Rafah crossing in coordination between Egypt and Israel

8 Palestinian refugees can live in the Palestinian territories or in the current host countries or emigrate to other countries but they are not granted a right of return to Israel and their settlement in the Palestinian territories will be restricted by security or economic consideration and they and the host countries are compensated

9 Palestinian security prisoners in Israel will be released in stages with the exception of those convicted of killing, attempted to kill, or planned to kill Israelis

10 In case the Palestinian side accepted the US plan, the US and Arab and non-Arab countries would provide financial assistance to the Palestinians in the tens of billions

On the Palestinian side, support for overall plan did not exceed 5% with opposition standing at 93%. Support for the components ranged between a high of 15%, for item 4, that allowed for the possibility of placing some Israeli-Arab towns, such as TayibeKafr Qasim and Qalansawe, under Palestinian sovereignty to a low of 4% for item 3, that allowed Israel to have sovereignty over East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley and all Israeli settlements, about 30%of the West Bank. Opposition to the various components ranged between a high of 94%, for components 3 and 5, and a low of 83% for component 4.

When asked about the majority view among Palestinians regarding the Trump plan, an overwhelming majority of 89% thought it would oppose it and only 7% thought the majority would support it. But when asked about the majority view among Israeli Jews, more than two-thirds (69%) expressed the view that the majority would support it; less than a quarter (23%) thought the majority would oppose it. 

We asked the respondents about the implications of the plan for the future prospects of the two-state solution: 68% expressed the view that it will harm the prospects for that solution and 10% expressed the opposite view, while 21% believe it will do neither harm nor advance the two-state solution. But a consensus (91%) view among the Palestinian public asserts that the Trump plan aims to create a Palestinian state that is neither independent nor sovereign; 6% expressed the opposite view.

On the Israeli side, the Trump plan was greeted with ambivalence. Support for various items differed widely by ideology, but also within the average of the total population each item showed wide variations in support.

  • Fewer than half of all Israelis, 47%, supported the idea of a demilitarized Palestinian state being established after a transitional four year period and being recognized by Israel. This includes 49% of Jews, but of those, just 29% of settlers supported the item. At the same time, just 33% of Arab Israelis supported this item – leaving Jews inside the Green Line as the highest supporters (50%).
  • Israeli Jews were far more enthusiastic about the conditioning of Palestinian statehood on a number of conditions stipulated in the Trump plan – a democratic government and rule of law, financial institutions and dismantling of armed groups including Hamas. Among Jews, a clear majority of two-thirds support this item and even 62% of settlers; but again just under one-third of Arabs (32%).
  • Notably, the clause related to Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and all settlements – about 30% of the West Bank – showed significantly lower support than the conditionality of statehood: just over one-third (34%) of all Israelis supported this. In an unusual finding, Arabs Israelis and settlers were the least supportive, 23% and 28% respectively. But even Jews inside the Green Line were unenthusiastic, with 36% support. Also notable was the high rate of respondents who declined to give an answer, 23% in total. However, perhaps most interesting is that only a minority of Israeli Jewish right wingers support the annexation plans as well; further, the most firm right wingers show even lower support than moderate right for this item (20% compared to 39%, respectively).
  • Nearly half of Israeli Jews, 47%, support the possibility that Arab Israelis from the Triangle area might come under Palestinian sovereignty; just 19% of Arabs support this. Here too, the Israeli right wing is split, with a majority of 54% among the moderate right who support the item, and 39% of the firm right – who apparently oppose any mention of Palestinian sovereignty. Notably, a strong majority of Israelis believe the Palestinian state envisioned by the Trump plan (after hearing all the items) is not truly sovereign - just 20% of Israelis think it is, and 62% said it is not truly sovereign. Yet apparently even the symbolic understanding of Palestinian statehood, despite not being truly independent, is unacceptable to the furthest-right-wing certain portion of Israeli Jews.
  • The item regarding united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, except for specific neighborhoods outside the wall, was supported by half of all Israelis, and 54% of Israeli Jews. Just 24% of Arab Israelis supported this.
  • A majority of Israelis, 54%, supported the maintenance of the status quo on the Temple Mount, while allowing Jews to pray there at agreed times. However, this majority contains a deep split between Jews, 60% of whom support the item, and Arab Israelis – just 19% support this item.
  • The notion that Israel maintains full security control over the entire West Bank and all international crossings is embraced by Jews both inside the Green Line and the settlers – nearly three-quarters support. 27% of Arab Israelis support this item.
  • The Trump plan’s approach to refugees allows them to return to a Palestinian state subject to security approval by Israel, or gives them the option of immigrating to other states, with no right of return at all to Israel. Over sixty percent of all Jews support this, with little variation, and one quarter of Arab Israelis. However, the mild variation among Jews shows lower support among the right-wing population – over ten points lower among the firm right than the left (58% and 69% respectively). Here too, the most likely explanation is that the item mentions a Palestinian state, which the firm right opposes strongly.
  • The phased release of Palestinian prisoners except those charged with murder is supported by 44% of all Israelis: 44% of Jews, and 40% of Arabs, making this among the more successful items for Arab Israelis.
  • The item stipulating a package of financial support for Palestinians from the US, Arab and non-Arab states is supported by about half of Jews, and 39% of Arabs.

For all the items of the Trump plan, a fairly high portion of Israelis declined to choose support or oppose, and roughly one-fifth overall responded “don’t know.” Among Arab respondents the number is higher, over one-third.

After hearing all the items of the Trump plan, the Israeli respondents voted similar to the initial exercises regarding a two-state solution. In this case a higher portion, 47%, supported the Trump plan after hearing all the details, as a package; 33% opposed, and 20% chose “don’t’ know.” This is nine points higher than those who chose the traditional two-state peace package (including the enhancements added through the earlier survey project) – 38%.

Among Israeli Jews, after hearing all the items, 51% supported the Trump plan, 30% rejected it, and 19% did not know (here support is 15 points higher than for the traditional two-state peace plan). Yet support for the Trump plan is much lower among Arabs: 27% support it, while 46% oppose, and the remainder do not know. This dynamic nearly reverses the trend of Arab Israeli support for the two-state peace package: nearly half (49%) supported the traditional approach and 25% opposed the two-state peace package in the current survey.

Normative environment and impact of the plan

The Israeli public views the Trump plan as an accurate reflection of itself. When asked their impression of how other Israeli Jews would respond, the breakdown was surprisingly similar to those who actually support or opposed it: 46% of the total sample believed a majority of the population would support it (which is technically inaccurate, since a plurality supports it but not over 50%, but does indicate the general trend). 36% of respondents believe Israelis reject it (very close to the 33% who in fact reject it) and once again nearly one-fifth do not know.

Israelis are under few illusions about the Palestinians: two-thirds of Israelis believe that most Palestinians will reject the Trump plan. This rate is only slightly lower among Arabs (58%), due to the higher portion who respond that they do not know.

Few Israelis believe the plan will advance a two-state solution – just 26% of Israelis and only minor variations between the different sectors. The large plurality, 41%, believe it will neither advance nor delay the two-state solution – this is an indicator that many believe it will have little impact at all.

It is appropriate to say that the Trump plan shook up the long-atrophied dynamics of left and right in Israel; but this does not necessarily lead to a clear path towards peace. Ultimately, Israeli Jews are quite aware that the Trump plan is squarely in their favor; there are at the very same time realistic that it is unlikely to contribute to actual peace. In other words, the survey results indicate that Israeli Jews are open about supporting conditions that favor them at the expense of advancing peace.   

 

(3) Annexation:

Following the last Israeli election and the announcement of the Trump plan, the Israeli government announced its intention to begin with the annexation aspect of the plan, unilaterally. The details of exactly where and how Israel would annex parts of the West Bank were never made entirely clear; nevertheless the survey tested the various most likely options that were being discussed and which might yet re-emerge in the future (the subsequent deal between Israel and the UAE contains a disputed clause about either suspending or canceling the planned annexations).

Respondents were given a range of options they prefer, from annexing nothing at this time, to annexing various portions of the West Bank: Just the Jordan Valley, some of the settlements, the Jordan Valley and some of the settlements, the Jordan Valley and all settlements, or the entire West Bank. The plurality of responses went to no annexation – 29% chose this. The other respondents broke down with different preferences; all those respondents who chose one of the annexation items as their preference added up to 48% of the sample (24% said they did not know). The number is significant as it is markedly consistent with nearly all public polls prior to Israel’s declared July 1st date to begin annexation: in all polls, support for annexation, no matter what form the question took, ranged in the mid-40s; at most only a slight majority of Israeli Jews supported it. This figure was consistent throughout the months ahead of July 1st and the current survey confirms the trend, despite asking an original question offering a range of response choices.

Both Israelis and Palestinians were asked about what impact they believe annexation will have on four aspects of the conflict:

  • The peace process between Palestinians and Israelis
  • Israel’s security
  • Israel’s Jewish character
  • Israel’s future as a democracy.

Israeli responses highlight the conflicting interests involved in annexation. Israelis are aware that unilateral annexation is unlikely to act as a catalyst for peace: just 11% think it will advance peace, while 47%, a clear plurality, believe it will delay peace further. 28% of Israelis do not believe it will have an impact (the remainder do not know). Only settlers show a higher portion who believe annexation contributes to peace, but even among them only 22% believe this, roughly one-third each believe it delays peace or has no impact.

Counterintuitively, just a minority of Israelis, 29%, believe annexation will advance Israeli security; while 39%, a plurality, believe it will actually harm security.  Here the variation is clear: 29% of Jews inside the Green Line believe it will help, and just 18% of Arabs, but 54% of settlers believe annexation will advance security. However, Israelis appear fairly unperturbed by security concerns, perhaps in part because they are skeptical of the PA’s claim to have ended security cooperation in response: 48% of all Israelis believe the PA has not followed through on its claim, and just 15% think it has in fact ended security cooperation. Although about half believe that ending such cooperation could in fact lead to another widespread outbreak of violence against Israel, many apparently believe the situation is fairly static and that this will not happen. 37% believe that if security cooperation ends, there are good chances the PA might collapse, but slightly more, 40%, believe that even in that case, the chances of PA are low.

We also asked if annexation will strengthen Israel’s Jewish character; over one third, 36% of Israelis and 39% of the Jewish respondents believe it will. 23% (of Jews and all Israelis) believe it will weaken Israel’s Jewish character. Among settlers, 58% believe annexation will strengthen Israel’s Jewish character.  In a separate question asking whether annexation will strengthen or weaken Israel’s Jewish and democratic character, responses were spread across all options, with the largest portion (23%) saying that it would strengthen both. When added to respondents who believed it would strengthen Israeli democracy even while weakening the Jewish identity, the total who thought annexation could help democracy was 31% - once again a minority.

In sum, only a minority of Israelis believe annexation will strengthen Israel’s security, Jewish character, democracy or contribute to the peace process. Pluralities believe it will harm or have a negative impact on all these aspects which are thought to be in Israel’s interest. However, Israeli Jewish settlers are the only groups among the Israeli sample in which a majority believe annexation will yield positive results on these questions.

Finally, the most direct question regarding the logical future of annexation was whether Israelis would like to return to direct control over Palestinians in the West Bank, as in the pre-Oslo days. Here too, the population was divided and uncertain: a minority of 31% support the idea, with 49% of all Israelis who are opposed and 20% who do not know. Among Jews, support level was just over one-third (34%); among Arab Israelis, 57% oppose direct Israeli rule and only 13% support it, but fully 32% declined to state an opinion.

Among Palestinians, 78% think such annexation will harm the peace process and only 6% think it will advance it. Surprisingly however, unlike the Israeli respondents, a majority of the Palestinians (52%) views annexation as beneficial for Israel’s security while 29% think the opposite. Similarly, 53% view it as helping to guard Israeli Jewish identity and 22% think the opposite. Finally, the largest percentage (38%) thinks annexation will help strengthen Israel’s Jewish and democratic character, 22% think it will strengthen its Jewish character but weaken its democratic character, 8% think it will weaken its Jewish character and strengthen its democratic character, 15% think it will weaken both characters, and 12% think it will have no impact on the state’s character.

When asked if the PA has indeed stopped security coordination with Israel in response to the Israeli intention to annex parts of the West Bank, 64% indicated it has not and only one quarter believed that the PA has indeed stopped it. But the public was split on the implications of an actual ending of security coordination on the chances for an eruption of violence: 49% think the chances are high or very high while 48% think the chances are low or non-existent. A majority of 54% does not think an end to security coordination would bring about a collapse of the PA while 41% think it would. An overwhelming majority of 81% expressed opposition to an Israeli resumption of full control over the West Bank similar to that that prevailed before the Oslo agreement and 16% expressed support for such a step.  

Thus, ironically, Israeli Jewish settlers and Palestinians were in greater agreement about the outcome of potential annexation as communicated by the Israeli  government ahead of July 2020.

(4) Conflict experiences:

Following the difficult reality of this protracted conflict, we examined the conflict-related experiences of both parties. Findings reflect the high levels of violence in the conflict and its negative psychological impact.

Experiencing conflict-related violence: A majority (61%) among Palestinian participants said they have never participated in a violent political incidents or demonstrations. While 65% of respondents aged 18-34 replied so, the proportion among people older than 55 was lower (53%). However, when asked about participation of a close family member n such incidents, 53% responded positively. Similarly, 60% reported that they have never been hurt in violent incident related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but 61% said a close family member has been hurt once (22%) or more than once (39%). Here again, a meaningful gap was found between younger respondents aged 18-34 how reported never being hurt (67%) and older ones aged 55 and more (51%). Finally, a majority of Palestinian respondents (59%) said they have witnessed injuries or deaths related to the conflict once (20%) or more than once (39%). The proportions of those who have witnessed conflict-related casualties rose from 43% among the youngest group (18-24) to 65% among the oldest group (55+). When we asked Palestinians whether they have been detained for a long time on an Israeli checkpoint, 25% responded ‘never’, 35% responded positively, and 40% (all Gazans) said the question does not apply for them. These findings indicate that living in a society that has experienced violent conflict for so long, the chances that individuals will have participated in the conflict as actors or victims increases over the years. Moreover, very large segments of Palestinian society experience the harshest consequences of the conflict directly or indirectly, which likely leaves an imprint on their conflict-related attitudes.

We asked the Jewish-Israeli side about participation in violent incidents or witnessing of casualties related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While, there are no major differences between participation in such incidents during the military service (their own or their relatives) between Jewish settlers and non-settlers, considerable differences exist between these groups regarding the question of being hurt in such incidents. Among non-settler Jews, 69% said they never took part in violent incidents relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during their military service, and 52% reported the same about their relatives. Among Jewish settlers, the numbers were 70% and 44% respectively. When asked about being hurt in such incidents, 85% of non-settler Jews said they have never been hurt, and 74% reported the same about their relatives. Among Jewish settlers, the numbers were lower—68% and 54% respectively—meaning that larger proportion of this population has been hurt once (16% for both questions) or more than once (16% and 30% respectively) in such incidents. Finally, as shown in Figure 14, 38% of non-settler Jews reported they have witnessed injuries or deaths related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once (13%) or more than once (25%), while about half (51%) of settler Jews have witnessed such casualties once (14%) or more than once (37%).  Compared to Palestinians, fewer non-settler Jews were exposed to conflict-related violence, while settlers – who are the immediate neighbors of Palestinians – report similar levels to those of Palestinians.

Worry and Fear: Most Palestinians (58%) expressed worry and fear that they or a member of their family will be hurt by Israelis or that their land will be confiscated or home demolished or that they would be expelled or prevented from reaching their land behind the separation barrier or wall; 40% are not worried. Moreover, an overwhelming majority of 81% indicated that it is worried or very much worried about the future of the Palestinian people. 

In the current survey, 42% of Israeli Jews said they “greatly or very greatly” agree with a statement that “I fear being harmed by a Palestinian terror attack, rocket fire or war.” 59% responded that they share this concern only a little or not at all.

Moreover, 56% of Israeli Jews indicated that they are worried or very much worried about losing the Jewish majority in Israel and losing the Jewish character of the state; 44% are not worried.

 

(5) How Israelis and Palestinians View Each Other and Trust levels:

We asked the two sides about perceptions of both the other, and themselves: whether they want peace or believe the other side does, whether they trust and whether they fear the other side. We probed the extent of zero sum beliefs. The overall findings show a marked decline in perceptions of the other side’s commitment to peace and in the level of trust. In the current Pulse we added more detailed questions about the potential antecedents of (mis)trust and how various social actors contribute to it. These assessments were already majority negative in the 2016-2018 series, but at present mutual perceptions have sunk even lower.

Does the other side want peace?

Among Palestinians, 18% agree that most Israeli Jews want peace, a significant decrease from 39% in June 2018 and much less than our findings in June 2017 when 44% of Palestinians gave this response. In this poll, 76% expressed the view that they do not think most Israeli Jews want peace.

Among Israeli Jews just 19% agree that Palestinians want peace, a significant drop from 35% in July 2018. In December 2016, 41% thought this way, then just 33% in June 2017, making the current survey among the poorest results in terms of Israeli perceptions that Palestinians want peace. Negative view of the other side’s actions: We asked Jewish-Israelis whether they heard during the last year about offensive actions that the other party took. While 58% of Jewish non-settlers reported they heard about Arabs taking land illegally, 76% of Jewish settlers said so. Smaller differences can be found between the two groups when asked regarding hearing about Palestinians taking action against Israel in international forums, lobbying individual foreign governments against Israel or delegitimizing Israel in the media and colleges abroad: 87% and 88% respectively responded positively; when asked about a Palestinian terrorist harming Israeli soldiers or civilians 89% and 97% reported they have heard about it either in the media or from personal contacts and experience, with most of them saying they heard about it many times (43% and 56% respectively).  

The education system: We examined which view of the other Palestinians and Jewish-Israelis think that their own education system and that of the other side promotes. When thinking about their own education system, 37% of Palestinians said it calls for seeing Israelis through negative stereotypes and labels (see Figure 15), with some interesting variations according to age: While 33% of people 55 and older replied so, the proportion among respondents aged 18-34 was 42%. Looking at the Palestinian sample as whole, 31% thought their education system is indifferent to Israelis, and 16% said it calls for seeing Israelis positively as fellow human beings with legitimate needs and rights. On the Jewish-Israeli side, more than half of Jewish-Israelis (54%) said that their education system is indifferent to Palestinians, while 18% said it calls for seeing Palestinians positively as fellow human beings with legitimate needs and rights, and only 9% thought it calls for seeing Palestinians through negative stereotypes and labels (the rest had no opinion). When thinking about the education system of the other side, the answers were dramatically different: 72% of Palestinians and 79% of Jewish-Israelis said it calls for seeing the other group negatively. Interestingly, Palestinians are more open and willing to admit that their education system is negatively biased against the other side, compared to Israeli-Jews. However, both societies are similar in their dominant view of the other side's negative bias.

The answers to the three sets of questions regarding the other side's perceptions and actions are strong potential antecedents of mistrust: Both parties believe that the other side does not want peace, many Israelis report hearing about of various negative actions taken by Palestinians, and both sides believe the other party's education system is biased against them.  Naturally, all of these perceptions could contribute to low levels of trust.

Trust and Zero-Sum Conflict: As in previous recent surveys, levels of trust in the other side are very low and distrust is overriding. Among Palestinians a solid majority feels Israeli Jews are untrustworthy (90% - almost identical to June 2018 finding).  More Israeli Arabs than Palestinians are willing to trust Israeli Jews: 31% agree that Israeli Jews can be trusted, but 47% disagree (see Figure 16).

Among Israeli Jews, 79% disagree with a statement “Palestinians can be trusted,” among the worst results during recent testing, and an 11-point rise from July 2018; but closer to December 2017 (when three quarters believed that) and June 2017 (when 77% believed that). Just 15% in the current survey agree that Palestinians can be trusted.

When asked why they do not trust the other side, Palestinians focused on the political goals of Israeli Jews (42%) and on their religion and culture (24%) while Israeli Jews focused on the incitement in Palestinian education (37%) and on their leaders (28%). Other factors picked by Palestinians were the Israeli leadership (16%), negative personal experiences (10%), and incitement in the Israeli educational system (5%). Among Israelis, religion and culture was picked by 13%, and 11% indicated that they do not trust Palestinian political aims. 

Distrust is reinforced by a prevailing perception on both sides that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is characterized by zero-sum relations: “Nothing can be done that’s good for both sides; whatever is good for one side is bad for the other side.” Findings show that 58% of Israeli Jews currently agree, an 11-point rise from July 2018 (when 47% of Israeli Jews agreed), 46% of Israeli Arabs agree (this is in fact significantly lower than the two previous surveys, one of the only positive findings among Arab Israelis), and 74% of Palestinians (compared to 71% in July 2018) agree with this dismal zero-sum characterization.

Trust and different social actors: We examined the extent to which Palestinians and Israelis believe that different social actors help foster or diminish trust among the two peoples. As expected, there is a large gap between the beliefs that Jewish-Israelis and Palestinians have regarding the same actor from their own party and from the other side, while Arab Israelis have a more balanced view. Among Israeli Jews, 40% believe that the current leadership of the Israeli government diminishes trust, 29% believe it neither diminishes or fosters trust, and only 21% think it fosters trust (See Figure 17). Similar results can be found among Israeli Arabs, where 44% believe that the current leadership of the Israeli government diminishes trust, 12% believe it neither diminishes or fosters trust, and 17% think it fosters trust (the rest have no opinion). Among Palestinians, a vast majority of 78% think that the current Israeli leadership diminishes trust. When looking at the current Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, 34% of Palestinian respondents thought it diminishes trust, 32% though it neither diminishes or fosters trust, and 27% thought it fosters trust. Two-thirds of Israeli Jews believe that the Palestinian leadership diminishes trust, while among Israeli Arabs, 38% believe that the current Palestinian leadership in the West Bank diminishes trust, 22% believe it neither diminishes or fosters trust, and 10% think it fosters trust.

When asking about the role of Israeli and Palestinian press, 44% of Jewish Israelis, 39% of Arab Israelis and 67% of Palestinians believe Israeli press diminishes trust, whereas 73%, 37% and 39% respectively think the same about the Palestinian press. Relating to the Israeli and Palestinian school curriculum, 17% of Jewish Israelis, 39% of Arab Israelis and 67% of Palestinians believe that the Israeli curriculum diminishes trust, whereas 80%, 38% and 33% respectively believe think the same about the Palestinian curriculum. Finally, when asking about Israeli and Palestinian social media, 44% of Palestinians, 38% of Arab Israelis, and 70% of Jewish Israelis say Palestinian social media diminishes trust, whereas 67%, 42% and 46% respectively think the same about Israeli social media.

 

(6) Values and Goals

Values and Goals: We asked Israelis and the Palestinians about the hierarchy of the values and goals they aspire to maintain or achieve.

Jews were asked about the values of: (1) a Jewish majority, (2) Greater Israel, (3) Democracy, (4) Peace. Among Israeli Jews, a Jewish majority and democracy are seen as the most important values (39% and 30% respectively; see Figure 18). This reflects a somewhat erratic shift with a significant rise in the Jewish majority portion relative to July 2018 (when 28% chose this, closely tied to peace at the time). At present, 12% chose greater Israel, a six-point decline from the previous survey and ending what had been an incremental rise up to that point). Among settlers, the shifts are also erratic: Greater Israel declined to 24%, and is now in second place, while the portion who chose a Jewish majority more than doubled, from 21% who chose this in 2018, to 45% - a clear plurality – at present. Democracy was cited by 15% of settlers, and just 10% of settlers cited peace..

Among the Palestinians, we asked about the following goals: (1) Israeli withdrawal and establishing a Palestinian state, (2) Obtaining right of return for refugees to ’48 Israel, (3) Establishing a democratic political system, (4) Building a pious or moral individual and religious society. For Palestinians, the ranking has been relatively stable, with little change over the course of the past two years. The top priority for Palestinian goals remains Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders and the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem (34%, compared to 43% in 2018) chose this, followed by obtaining the right of return to refugees to their 1948 towns and villages (28%, compared to 29% in 2018), building a pious or moral individual and a religious society (23%, a 10 point increase from 2018), and building a democratic political system (13%, compared to 14% in 2018; see Figure 19).