POLL: Israelis Support Palestinian State But Split On Settlements

(Photo: Haaretz)

A new poll by an Israeli newspaper has found that the majority of those surveyed support the creation of a Palestinian state but remain unconvinced that one is likely to come into existence.

Conducted by Israel Hayom, the poll asked 800 Israeli citizens whether they “support or oppose the idea of two states for two peoples, i.e. the creation of a Palestinian state independent from Israel.” Fifty-four percent of respondents were in favor of a Palestinian state, with only 38 percent opposed. The result in favor is down slightly from a survey published in December by Smith Research, which found that 62 percent of Israelis supported a two-state solution at the time.

Likewise, the new poll shows both concerns about the likelihood of a Palestinian state ever coming about and ambivalence towards the ever-expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank. In the case of the former, 54 percent of those polled believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is impossible. Support for settlements were almost exactly split in half, with 43 percent opposed and 43 percent in favor.

The split in the poll results may reflect the changing tone of Israeli politics. With a general election for the Knesset scheduled to take place in just a few weeks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Beitenu party remains set to take the plurality of seats in the new session. Right-wing parties are also due to hold the majority of seats over center and left-wing groups like the Labor and Liberal parties.

However, due to the coalition-making that is an ingrained part of Israeli political culture, Netanyahu may find himself pushed even further to the right on the issue of the West Bank. According to pre-election polling, pro-settlement party Jewish Home alone is poised to increase their allotment of the 120 seats in the Knesset from 3 to 14. Netanyahu’s Cabinet has already signed off on several controversial expansions of West Bank settlements, including the E1 section of the territory that may make a contiguous territory within the West Bank impossible for Palestine.

Furthering that trend would position Netanyahu and his future Cabinet for further scorn and condemnation from his allies around the world. The settlements also remain illegal in the eyes of international law and an obstacle in the path to a lasting peace deal, rendering the uncertainty of those surveyed valid.