April 27, 2016

Israeli Arabs more optimistic about two-state solution than Arabs living in the Palestinian territories

Israeli Arabs more optimistic about a two-state solutionThe idea that an independent Palestinian state can peacefully coexist with Israel has been the cornerstone of many Arab-Israeli peace initiatives in recent years. But while significant shares of Israeli Arabs and Jews are optimistic about the prospect of a two-state solution, the Arabs currently in the Palestinian territories are less so.

Half of Israeli Arabs (citizens and residents living within the boundaries of Israel, as defined in the 2008 census conducted by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics) say it is possible for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to coexist peacefully together, according to 2015 Pew Research Center surveys. By contrast, less than one-third of Arabs living in the Palestinian territories say a two-state solution is possible (28%). Jewish public opinion in Israel is divided on this question – 43% say a two-state solution is possible, while 45% disagree.

Arabs doubt the sincerity of Israeli government in peace negotiationsHowever, both Israeli Arabs and Arabs living in the Palestinian territories share a common skepticism about current efforts to achieve a peace settlement. Most Israeli Arabs (72%) and Arabs living in the Palestinian territories (84%) say the Israeli government is not making a sincere effort to bring peace to the region.

But Arab skepticism about the sincerity of Israeli politicians extends, to some degree, to the Palestinian leadership as well. Half of Israeli Arabs say Palestinian leaders are making a genuine effort to bring about peace with Israel, while four-in-ten say they are not.

Plurality of Palestinians support armed struggleAt the same time, only 53% of Palestinians say their leadership is making a sincere effort to reach a peace, with 41% saying they do not think this is true. Skepticism about the Palestinian leadership is more acute in the Hamas-controlled Gaza (49% say leaders are not making a sincere effort) compared with those in the Fatah-controlled West bank (36%).

Additionally, many Arabs in the Palestinian territories are convinced that armed struggle is the best way for them to achieve statehood. In 2015, 38% said this was the case, with 22% preferring negotiations, 20% advocating nonviolent resistance, and an additional 16% preferring a combination of these options. Among Palestinians living in Gaza, half say armed struggle is the best way for Palestinians to achieve statehood.

Note: Read the survey methodology and topline results for views of those in the Palestinian territories.

Topics: Jews and Judaism, Middle East and North Africa, Muslims and Islam, Wars and International Conflicts

  1. Photo of Angelina E. Theodorou

    is a research analyst focusing on religion at Pew Research Center.

  2. Photo of Jacob Poushter

    is a senior researcher focusing on global attitudes at Pew Research Center.

1 Comment

  1. Packard Day5 months ago

    Just an idle thought here, but could the marginal differences of opinion between the Iraeli Arabs and the surrounding territory Arabs have anything to do with the dramatic differences in the standards of living of the two groups? You see, living every day in Gaza or the West Bank is pretty rotten, while living every day anywhere in Israel is not so much…if that makes sense.