What are Israelis and Palestinians thinking about their own situations, about each other, and about peace? Two new October polls give us additional insight.
Tel Aviv University has just put out its “Peace Index.” There we learn that Israeli Jews favor renewing peace negotiations with the Palestinians (66% to 31%) but don’t believe anything will come of them. Twenty-five percent believe the negotiations will lead to peace “in the coming years,” and 71% do not.
An-Najah University in Nablus, in the West Bank, has just published “Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No. 53,” focusing mostly on Palestinian politics. Like Israelis, Palestinians are pessimists about a peace agreement: 33% of respondents believed that there is a possibility for the creation of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders while 61.5% said that there is no such possibility.
If there is no such possibility, what do they then want? People can of course choose inconsistent or multiple answers, but there are some interesting results. Thirty-eight percent favor an armed intifada, which is a very big number even if 56% reject that option. Thirty-one percent said “the current political, security and economic circumstances compel them to desire to emigrate.” Forty-six percent favor “the creation of a confederation with Jordan on the basis of two independent states with strong institutional relations.” The very notion of a confederation with Jordan is vigorously rejected by very many Palestinian and Jordanian officials, but the idea just does not seem to die.
Given the BDS movement, it is also worth noting the results when it comes to Palestinian boycotts of Israeli goods. Seventy-five percent of Palestinians “supported boycotting Israeli goods and products,” but they do not practice what they preach. Thirteen percent of the respondents said that they buy Israeli products in all cases, 37% said they buy Palestinian products in all cases, and nearly half, 46.5%, said they “buy according to the quality of the item regardless of its origin.”
On Palestinian politics, a majority oppose the recent postponement of elections and believes their rights as citizens (to vote) are being abridged. Asked to predict the outcome had elections been held, roughly half say Fatah would have won in the West Bank and Hamas would have won in Gaza.
A final and bizarre note: Palestinians blame the Brits for everything! Asked “Do you consider Britain responsible for the catastrophes that befell the Palestinian people?” 79% say yes and only 14% don’t agree. Logically, then, 75% say yes when asked “Do you support or reject a call from President Mahmoud Abbas on Britain to accept the historical, legal, political, material, and moral responsibilities relating to the consequences of Balfour Declaration including offering an apology to the Palestinian people for the catastrophes and injustice committed against them?”
May I summarize? "The Brits are to blame for the mess we are in, and no peace deal is possible, so let’s have an intifada, or anyway get me out of here, or let’s at least have a confederation with Jordan." John Kerry, call your office.