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last updated Feb. 4, 2010
published Jan. 2, 1999
Poll No. 30, February 1999 - On Palestinian - Israeli Peace Index
Read more:  negotiations, peace process, two-state solution, Oslo accords, Palestine Liberation Organization, PLO, Palestinian state, 1967 borders, Palestinian Authority, Jerusalem, public opinion
Summary: Introduction

Despite the obstacles that have been standing in the way of the Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations in the last couple of years, a majority in both sides remained optimistic regarding the future of the peace process in general: 60.2% of the Israelis and 68.2% of the Palestinians feel either optimistic or very optimistic about it.

However, a deeper look into the attitudes of both sides, as reflected in their respective answers to more specific questions, reveals a clear discrepancy between their attitudes, as well as lower levels of optimism in both sides on very important aspects of the process:

The Israeli public is generally more supportive of the peace process and more confident of its success than the Palestinian public. Still, 64.3 of the Israelis and 61.4 of the Palestinians support or strongly support today the Oslo Process. However while 28.2% of the Israelis strongly support Oslo, only 5.9% of Palestinians hold this attitude; the total ratio of Israelis who oppose or strongly oppose Oslo is 29% compared with 36.3% among Palestinians. Furthermore, 14.5% of the Israelis strongly believe in the prospects of the Oslo Accords to achieve peace between the two parties while only 6.3% of Palestinians hold this belief.

A striking discrepancy between the Israelis and the Palestinians emerges in regard to the idea of an independent Palestinian state: while 64.7% of the Israelis oppose the establishment of a Palestinian State with the 1967 borders (including East Jerusalem) as a part of the final solution to the conflict), 52.7% of the Palestinians support this idea. Furthermore, while 73.8% of Israelis actually believe that the Oslo process will bring about a Palestinian state, only 47.9% of Palestinians share this view.

Another interesting difference is revealed in the two sides' assessment of the "other side" authority's sincerity in pursuing peace: 61.5% of the Israelis consider the Palestinian Authority sincere in pursuing peace, while only 11% of the Palestinians believe that the Israeli government is sincere in this regard. On the other hand, 88.5% of the Palestinians do not believe in Israel's genuine desire for peace as opposed to 38% among Israelis who think so about the Palestinian Authority.

The same pattern is seen in the two sides' attitudes when relating to the question of who is more responsible for the deadlock in the peace process. 70% of the Palestinians see Israel as entirely or mostly responsible for it. Only 7.4% of them put some blame on their side while 20.1% believe it is both sides' fault. Among Israelis, however, 46.6% see the deadlock as the shared responsibility of both sides, while 25% attribute the responsibility to Israel and only 22.5% consider it the Palestinians' fault.

There is a deep contradiction in opinions between both peoples over the preferred solution to the Jerusalem controversy: While, 70.4% of the Israelis reject any solution that makes East Jerusalem the capital of Palestine, 91.3% of Palestinians reject any solution that keeps Jerusalem the unified capital of Israel. However, almost no difference was found between the two sides' understanding the present situation in Jerusalem: 49.2% of the Israelis agree or strongly agree that Jerusalem is practically divided and 48% of the Palestinians share this belief.

Comparing these results with those of a similar opinion poll conducted in December 1997, one can notice relatively small changes occurring, with a few exceptions only. For example, in late 1997 only 9% of the Israelis felt that their personal security had improved since the launching of the peace process, while in this survey 21% of the respondents expressed such sense of improvement. Among the Palestinians, however, the sense of personal security declined from 64.2% in 1997 to 45.9% at the present.
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