March 25, 2019

In Israel, Palestine, and the U.S, the People Want Peace

“A survey conducted a few weeks ago by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion at Beit Sahour, among Palestinians from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, which has been since quoted in a publication of the Washington Institute, shows that the positions of the Palestinian public are significantly more moderate than those of its leaders; this is the case in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, the Fatah-led West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The survey focused on three main topics: the attitude of those surveyed to the realization of the right of return of 1948 Palestinian refugees to sovereign Israel, their attitude about the definition of Israel as a Jewish state and their position on the Israeli demand that an agreement between the sides be officially determined to be “the end of the conflict.” On most of these topics the position of the East Jerusalemites proved most dovish; generally in the middle were residents of the Gaza Strip, while residents of the West Bank were generally more hawkish than their brethren. But on all questions, it turned out, the Palestinian public is far from insisting on the positions of its leaders, and would back an American plan that would force the two sides to make significant concessions on what have been previously presented as the Palestinians’ red lines.

According to the poll, two-thirds of Gaza residents would accept realization of the right of return only to the West Bank and Gaza, and not to sovereign Israel. Meanwhile, 60% of those surveyed in East Jerusalem are prepared to define Israel as a Jewish state under a peace agreement (compared with 55% in Gaza and 35% in the West Bank). As for determining the “end of the conflict,” 73% of those surveyed in East Jerusalem support it, compared with 50% in the West Bank (where 37% oppose it) and 47% backing it in the Gaza Strip (where 49% oppose it).”

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