Yitzhak Benhorin
Ynetnews (Analysis)
November 20, 2010 - 1:00am

The majority of Palestinians support direct talks and the two-state solution, but ultimately want the entire area between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea to turn into one Palestinian state, a poll sponsored by The Israel Project, a Jewish-American organization, shows.

The data, collected by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research in October, shows that the Palestinians blame Hamas for the current state of affairs in the Gaza Strip, and are hostile not only towards the Islamic organization but also towards Iran.

According to the poll, 61% of Palestinians from both Gaza and the West Bank support direct negotiations with Israel, and 60% accept the two-state solution. A 54% majority also agree peace is possible with Israel.

23%: Israel is Jewish homeland
A closer look, however, reveals a different picture: According to the poll, most Palestinians refuse to reconcile with the idea of Israel as a Jewish state. While 23% accept the statement that “Israel has a permanent right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people,” two-thirds prefer the alternative statement that “over time Palestinians must work to get back all the land for a Palestinian state.”

Moreover, the Palestinians perceive the two-state solution as a precursor to this entirely Palestinian state. When presented with the statement that “the best goal is for a two-state solution that keeps two states living side by side,” 30% agreed, while 60% opted for the alternative statement that “the real goal should be to start with two states but then move it to all being one Palestinian state."

On the issue of terrorism, 58% said they support the armed struggle with Israel, while 36% believes that the direct talks are the only option. In the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, support for armed struggle was lower in Gaza (51%) than in the West Bank (62%).

In response to a scenario where Palestinian institutions are built up for independence and territories are exchanged in line with the 1967 borders, Palestinians show a shift towards acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state. Considering this scenario, 50% of respondents said they would “favor the Palestinian Authority officially recognizing Israel as a Jewish state as part of a two-state solution."

Furthermore, 56% in the West Bank and 58% in Gaza said that if this scenario takes place, streets and squares should cease to be named after suicide bombers, and 51% in the West Bank – though only 12% in Gaza – favor depicting Israel on maps of the region in schoolbooks and official documents.

'Iran cause of PA's problems'
The poll data also suggests that the Palestinians are turning away from Hamas; 68% say that pressuring the organization to renounce terrorism is an important step towards peace, while 62% said that Hamas should stop rocket fire from Gaza. Furthermore, 56% of Gaza residents have negative views towards Hamas' leadership. Overall, 53% of Palestinians feel hostility towards Hamas.

Iran's popularity proved to be quite low as well; in Gaza, 27% blame the Islamic Republic as a factor in the problems Palestinians face. Additionally, 55% of Palestinians negatively rated the nation as “cool," while 39% gave it a “very cold” rating. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad received similar marks.

Despite recent reports of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas losing his footing, the poll shows that 61% of Palestinians support him. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad showed greater popularity, with 65% of Palestinian support. As for Fatah, 44% of Gaza residents expressed support for its leadership, while Hamas leaders received only 27% of the residents' support.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017