Palestinian Support for a Two-State Solution Is Declining

July 30, 2021 | David Pollock and Catherine Cleveland
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Examining several carefully conducted surveys of Palestinian public opinion from the past two years, David Pollock and Catherine Cleveland identify some disconcerting trends—along with some more encouraging ones.

Less than 40 percent of the Palestinian public—in the West Bank, Gaza, and eastern Jerusalem—supports [a two-state solution] over one-state alternatives. Support for a two-state solution has declined steadily since 2018.

Further, most Palestinians believe that a two-state solution is unlikely to emerge from the conflict. Instead, a majority of them say they prefer to reclaim all of historic Palestine, including the pre-1967 Israel. A one-state solution with Arabs and Jews holding equal rights comes in second.

While the most recent . . . polls do suggest a spike in support for Hamas, [other] data . . . demonstrate some countervailing trends in Gaza. Since 2017 a small majority of Gazans have supported the idea that Hamas should “stop calling for Israel’s destruction, and instead accept a permanent two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.” Likewise, while support for this position in the West Bank has fluctuated, a notable 65 percent of West Bank respondents supported this view in 2020.

Even so, the sobering reality is that there is still no Palestinian popular majority that supports permanent peace with Israel, . . . even among the younger generation. Beyond the practical challenges of negotiating the final status of a two-state solution, real reconciliation remains a distant dream.

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