From the September Peace Index
Is the idea of “two states for two peoples” dead or alive? In the aftermath of Netanyahu’s recent speech at the United Nations General Assembly, in which he again expressed support for a two-state solution, we wanted to know what the Israeli public thinks on this issue. We found a small lead for the view that the idea has not died (50%) compared to those with the opposite view (46%). In the Arab public, however, the rate of those who think the idea has died (57%) is considerably higher than the rate of those who say the opposite (35%).
Between two states and one state: In the Jewish public the rate of those who think Israel’s future will be better if the land is divided and a Palestinian state is established beside Israel (46%) is higher than the rate of those who think it would be preferable to annex the territories and establish a single state in the whole land under Israeli rule (36%). At the same time, a large majority (68%) agrees with the assertion that if a peace agreement is signed, at least the large settlement blocs should remain under Israeli sovereignty. In other words, their vision of two states does not include a return to the 1967 borders. On the question of what is better for Israel’s future, the Arabs’ position is much more clear-cut: about two-thirds (64%) think its future will be better if the land is divided. As for annexing the settlement blocs, the rate of those among the Arabs who agree that they should remain under Israeli sovereignty (42%) is slightly higher than the rate of those who disagree (37%). By the way, our survey revealed that in the Jewish public the rate of those who do not believe Netanyahu is genuinely committed to the two-state solution (59%) is double the rate of those who believe what he says. Only among the voters for his own party, Likud, is there a majority who think he sincerely means what he says (57%). In the Arab public the rate of those who do not believe his words comes to 72.5%!
And what will happen if a single state is established? A clear majority of the Jewish public (60%) opposes the assertion that “If the territories are annexed and a single state is established under Israeli rule, there will be no choice but to give the Palestinians full and equal civil rights.” Not surprisingly, the Arab public shows a reverse pattern of responses: 53% agree that Israel will have to give the Arabs equal rights. Similarly and more sweepingly, a wide consensus of the Jewish public (87%) sees small chances that “Sometime in the future Jews and Arabs will be able to live in a single state as citizens with equal rights who recognize each other’s rights.” Here the Arab public’s assessments are similar to those of the Jewish public: 68% regard the chances of egalitarian coexistence as small.