- Published on Wednesday, 03 July 2013 11:24
Despite recent attempts by US Secretary of State John Kerry to restart the peace talks, only 10 percent of Israelis and 27% of Palestinians believe negotiations with Palestinians will resume and violence will end, according to a poll released on Tuesday.
The Hebrew University's Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace conducted the survey jointly with the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.
According to the 601 Israelis and 1,270 Palestinians polled, each side views the other as a continual threat to its existence.
On the Palestinian side, 57% of those surveyed believe that Israel's long-term goals are to extend its border into Palestinian territory and drive out the Arab citizens. An additional 25% of Palestinians believe Israel's goals are to annex the West Bank and deny Palestinians their political rights.
Likewise, 17% of Israelis believe that Palestinians ultimately hope to conquer the State of Israel, while an additional 37% believe Palestinians hope to eradicate as much of the Israeli Jewish population as possible.
The survey came about in light of the new modifications to the Saudi-inspired Arab Peace Initiative accepting minor territorial swaps, and an intensive United States effort to revitalize Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that have been halted since 2008.
The original initiative, first offered in 2002, called for the establishment of a Palestinian state and an Israeli retreat from all territories captured in 1967, including Gaza, the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
In April, Kerry persuaded the Arab League to revive interest in the initiative by allowing the final borders between Israel and a future Palestine state to deviate from the 1967 lines through agreed land swaps.
The modification was supposed to provide a way for Israel to keep some of the West Bank settlements and holy sites in east Jerusalem.
However, the poll suggests that the new Arab modification did not make the plan more popular with Israelis.
A year ago, only 36% of Israelis supported the plan, but since the modifications, that percentage has dwindled to 24%. Even though 54% of Palestinians support the plan, only 17% believe Israel will actually withdraw from one or all of the territories conquered in 1967.
Although Palestinian leadership in Ramallah has been officially nudging toward a two-state solution based on the pre- 1967 lines, and the Israeli government supports a two-state solution under Israeli sovereignty, 68% of Israelis and 69% of Palestinians view the chances of an independent Palestinian state's formation in the next five years as low or nonexistent.
Despite the low expectations, 62% of Israelis and 53% of Palestinians support a two-state solution. However, 51% of Israelis believe it is bound to fail because of the settlements, and 58% of Palestinians believe it is no longer viable.
Both sides were even more critical of a proposed one-state solution in which Arabs and Jews enjoy equality: 63% of Israelis and 69% of Palestinians reject such a result.
The peace-process pessimism is not just limited to boundary disputes, but encompasses intense fear of violence as well. The study found that 50% of Israeli participants are worried that their families may be harmed by Arabs, while 74% of Palestinians are worried that Israelis will harm their families, confiscate their land or demolish their homes.
The poll, conducted in mid- June, has a 4.5% margin of error. The Palestinian sample was interviewed face-to-face in the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip; the Israeli sample was interviewed by phone.