A set of recent polls of Palestinian "refugees" in the West Bank and Gaza, in Jordan, and in Lebanon asks "Are there conditions under which you could accept coexistence with Israeli Jews in peace and security?" The replies:
- West Bank and Gaza: Yes 20.3 percent, No 79.1 percent, Don't know 0.7 percent
- Jordan: Yes 9.7 percent, No 85.5 percent, Don't know 4.7 percent
- Lebanon: Yes 18.7 percent, No 77.8 percent, Don't know 3.5 percent
(1) These percentages confirm my sense that a not-trivial portion of Arabs – even Palestinians who trace their roots to the land Israel occupies – are willing to live in harmony with Israel. I estimate that they constitute one-fifth of each of the Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim populations, with many and substantial variations existing within that overall estimate.
(2) This is an extremely important fact, pointing to an existing base for living in peace. Israel does not need to create this cohort, but increase its size. (July 24, 2003)
Aug. 26, 2004 update: A study of "Canada's Pro-Israel Muslims" finds 20 percent of them thinks "Israel is right on just about everything."
Mar. 26, 2009 update: The existence of a Palestinian cohort with pro-Israel views goes back further than most observers realize – right to the start of the Zionist enterprise. For background on the British Mandatory period, see my column today, "Palestinians Who Helped Create Israel."
Dec. 23, 2009 update: Polling in Egypt and Saudi Arabia finds 26 percent and 9 percent, respectively, of the surveyed populations accepting a Jewish State of Israel.
Apr. 12, 2010 update: Asked by An-Najah University, "Do you accept the creation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with some land exchange as a final solution for the Palestinian problem," a representative Palestinian sample replied 28.3 percent "yes," 66.7 percent "no" and 5 percent "no opinion/do not know."
May 11, 2010 update: Polling in Jordan and Lebanon finds 9 percent and 5 percent, respectively, of their populations accepting a Jewish State of Israel. Combining these figures with those reported (above) on Dec. 23, 2009 and weighting them by size finds that almost precisely 20 percent accepting Israel as a Jewish state.
Nov. 9, 2010 update: An "Arab World for Research & Development" poll on October 20-22 with a sample of 1,000 Palestinians in the West Bank & Gaza found these results, with a margin of error of + 3 percent:
- 12 percent say yes, 85 percent say no to the question, "If Palestinian negotiators delivered a peace settlement that includes a Palestinian State but had to make compromises on key issues (right of return, Jerusalem, borders, settlements, etc.) to do so would you support the result?"
- 45 percent, however, say that "Two state solution - Two states for two peoples: Israel and Palestine according to UN resolution" is the "most realistic/achievable" scenario.
July 15, 2011 update: Asked about Barack Obama's statement that "there should be two states: Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people and Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people," 34 percent of http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/6-in-10-Palestinians-reject-2-state-solution-survey-findswww.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/6-in-10-Palestinians-reject-2-state-solution-survey-finds accepted the statement, while 61 percent rejected it, according to an intensive, face-to-face survey in Arabic of 1,010 Palestinian adults in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip carried out by American pollster Stanley Greenberg and the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, sponsored by the Israel Project.
Lest one think that acceptance of two states means acceptance of the Jewish state of Israel, 66 percent said the Palestinians' goal should be to start with a two-state solution but then move to it all being one Palestinian state. So, if one takes 66 percent of 34 percent, one ends up 22 percent, which is around the usual figure of 1/5th.
June 25, 2014 update: The Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy conducted a poll on June 15-17 in the West Bank and Gaza in which it asked two similar questions and got two similar results:
If the Palestinian leadership is able to negotiate a two-state solution with Israel, do you think that ...
This should be the end of the conflict with Israel? 32 percent
Resistance should continue until all of historic Palestine is liberated? 64 percent
If the Palestinian leadership negotiates a two-state solution with Israel, do you think that ...
That would be its final goal? 27 percent
That would be part of a "program of stages" to liberate all of historic Palestine later? 65 percent
Sep. 3, 2015 update: An important survey of views on the West Bank and in Gaza from June 7 to 19 by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, written up by David Pollock, inquires into the long-term Palestinian perspective on Israel: "Do most Palestinians hope for a small state of their own at peace with Israel, or do they still aspire to reclaim all of Palestine someday?" The responses
demonstrate a dichotomous set of attitudes: some tactical flexibility toward Israel today, but much potential for irredentism in the future. The tactical flexibility [includes] recognition of "the Jewish people," or restrictions on the Palestinian refugee "right of return", ... to share sovereignty over Jerusalem with Israel. Another sign of tactical flexibility is that among West Bankers, the large majority (79 percent) say that, "in the current situation," they would like a highway through that territory which bypasses Jerusalem altogether.
For the longer term, however, Palestinians want much more. The survey asked about three different time frames: 5 years from now, 30-40 years from now, and 100 years from now. The results:
a plurality pick "reclaiming all of historic Palestine from the river to the sea" rather than "a two-state solution" as the "main Palestinian national goal." ... In the West Bank, 81 percent say that all of historic Palestine "is Palestinian land and Jews have no rights to the land." In Gaza, that proportion is even higher: 88 percent.
only one-fourth of Palestinians in either the West Bank or Gaza expect Israel to "continue to exist as a Jewish state" in thirty to forty years. Another fourth think Israel will become "a binational state of Jews and Palestinians." And 38 percent of West Bankers, along with 53 percent of Gazans, think Israel will no longer exist at all, even as a binational state. That group is about evenly split between those who predict that Israel "will collapse from internal contradictions" or that "Arab or Muslim resistance will destroy it."
a mere 12 percent of West Bankers and 15 percent of Gazans say Israel will still exist then as a Jewish state. In the West Bank, a plurality (44 percent) think Israel will either collapse or be destroyed. ... In Gaza, an absolute majority (63 percent) anticipate the destruction or collapse of Israel within that distant horizon.
Mar. 24, 2016 update: Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, deputy head of Dubai Police and General Security, has called on Arab states to join in a security coalition with Israel and opposes the creation of an independent Palestinian state. He also asked his followers to answer two questions:
"The Jews have lived for many years in Arab lands. Is it permissible for them to live as citizens in our countries and we will live in their country as citizens?" Of 19,628 votes, 22 percent said it is permissible.
Asking what future relations will be the Jews, 19 percent of the 10,518 votes accepted the two-state solution of an Israel and a Palestine.
Apr. 3, 2017 update: In a review of Palestinian opinion polls, Daniel Polisar finds a fairly high willingness to live permanently side-by-side in two states. He starts with a 2011 survey conducted by Stanley Greenberg.
Half the participants were given two competing statements and asked to indicate the one they agreed with more, "even if neither is exactly right." The two statements were: (a) "The best goal is for a two-state solution that keeps two states living side by side" and (b) "The real goal should be to start with two states but then move to it all being one Palestinian state." While 25 percent chose the first option, more than twice as many, 52 percent, averred that a two-state solution should be used as a stepping stone toward all of historical Palestine.
The other participants in the Greenberg survey were given a slightly different pairing, in which the second statement remained the same while the first described the two-state option in greater detail: "I can accept permanently a two-state solution, with one a homeland for the Palestinian people living side-by-side with Israel, a homeland for the Jewish people." Thirty percent opted for a Palestinian state existing alongside the Jewish state, while 66 percent declared that "The real goal should be to start with two states but then move to it all being one Palestinian state."
Polisar then looks at a June 2014 of West Bank and Gaza residents commissioned and supervised by David Pollock in which he
also sought to understand the implications of a two-state agreement, asking residents of the West Bank and Gaza: "If the Palestinian leadership is able to negotiate a two-state solution with Israel, do you think that this should be the end of the conflict with Israel, or should resistance continue until all of historic Palestine is liberated?" While 32 percent saw a two-state solution as the end of the conflict, twice as many, 64 percent, opted for "resistance ... until all of historic Palestine is liberated."
In sum, then, 25, 30, and 32 percent showed a willingness to live alongside the Jewish state.