25% of West Bankers support two-state solution, 16% favor one state — poll

(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — A new poll gauging popular opinion in the West Bank shows support for a two-state solution remains in the minority, according to the Washington Institute which conducted the survey and released its results on June 30. The poll was conducted ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the West Bank later this month and an analysis of the results published on the think tank’s website.اضافة اعلان

A reversal in attitudes towards the five-year Palestinian national priority is evident compared to 2020. Opinion has moved away from a large majority support for “regaining historical Palestine, from the river to the sea,” dropping sharply from 66 percent in 2020 to just 37 percent.

Some of this shift reflects the quarter of respondents who now prefer a two-state solution. However, responses also demonstrate an unexpected and growing preference for alternative outcomes. “Moving towards shared rule with Jordan or Egypt, including Palestinian self-government” garnered 18 percent support. In last place, is “achieving a one-state solution, in which Jews and Arabs would have equal rights”, with just 16 percent support.

Frustration with the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) governance in the West Bank remains high.” Recent Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research polling confirms the majority view that Hamas and the PA are corrupt. Even so, only a minority say that they support mass protests against corruption “as seen in other Arab countries”.

A solid majority, 63 percent, of West Bankers concur that Palestinians should “push harder” to replace current Palestinian political leadership with “more effective and less corrupt” options. A similar number, 65 percent, support the assertion that “Hamas and the PA should allow free and fair Palestinian elections.”

Looking much further ahead, when asked how the conflict will ultimately end, half of West Bankers continue to believe that “eventually, Palestinians will control almost all of Palestine, because God is on their side.” But this represents a 13 percentage point decrease from 2020, and parallels an 11 point increase in those who believe that Israel and the Palestinians will reach a “political compromise, to divide the land and live side by side”.

More West Bankers, 44 percent, now also believe that Israelis would indeed accept a two-state solution for permanent peace, a 12 point increase from 2020.

About 61 percent of West Bankers agree to varying degrees with the proposal that Palestinians should move to a new intifada. And despite repeated Israeli military operations in Jenin in the past few months, opinion is now split as to whether “the PA should stop security coordination with Israel, no matter what happens.”

Asked whether “Palestinians should focus on practical matters like jobs (and) healthcare ... not on big political plans or resistance options,” 59 percent of West Bankers now agree. There is also a growing minority interest in Israeli involvement. Today, 25 percent of West Bankers would now choose to be a “citizen of Israel” were there an agreement for a two-state solution, up from 9 percent in 2020. Interest in Israeli companies offering jobs in the West Bank and Gaza has also increased over the past two years, from 11 percent to 28 percent.

Longer-term trends highlight that current views represent an overall loss of optimism and willingness to compromise, compared with five years ago.

Regarding external actors to the conflicts, attitudes towards the US have improved since the Trump era, while remaining skeptical. Back in 2020, a large plurality (45 percent) wanted the US to “stay out of Palestinian and Middle East affairs altogether”. Now, only 13 percent express the same view. Instead, 35 percent are most interested in the US “pressuring Israel to make concessions”. A further 24 percent are most keen for US pressure on the PA and Hamas to be “more democratic and less corrupt”, while 10 percent prioritize getting Arab states more involved in solving the Palestinian problem.  Still, the overall view of the Biden administration’s approach to the conflict is narrowly, at 57 percent, negative so far.

Meanwhile, 69 percent now believe that Palestinians should concentrate on getting different international mediators “such as Russia, Europe, and the UN” involved in the conflict, an almost 20 percent increase from prior years.

The Abraham Accords are not popular in the West Bank — only a quarter see them in even a somewhat positive light. 

Remarkably, 67 percent of West Bankers believe that Jordan should play a major role in the future of Jerusalem. A significant 25 point jump from 2020, this percentage is now on par with support for major involvement of the PA, at 65 percent, and more than Hamas at 61 percent. In contrast, support for a major role for the PA or Hamas has actually declined by about 20 percentage points since 2020.

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