RAMALLAH, December 6 (JMCC) - Palestinian citizens of Israel, a 20 percent minority, are more likely to reject proposals that they be transferred to a future Palestinian state as part of a peace deal than last year, a recent poll found, reports
When asked if they would accept the transfer of some Arab/Palestinian towns currently in Israel to a new Palestinian state, 78 percent responded that they would not accept such a transfer, with only 17 percent saying they would. That is a clear shift from 2010, when 58 percent said they would oppose such a transfer while 36 percent would accept it.
There was also a strong shift toward compromise on the question of Palestinian refugees' right to return to the lands from which they were exiled. In 2010, 57 percent of Arab Israelis said the right of return could not be compromised away, while 28 percent said it was important, but a compromise should be found and 11 percent said it was not too important.
In the current poll, the plurality shifted and now 57 percent are in favour of compromise, 34 percent say it cannot be compromised and only five percent say it is not too important.
Telhami was unsure about the reasons for the drastic shift in opinion on this issue. He did say, however that, Those who had refugees in their families were much more inclined not to compromise than those who did not.
The polls also showed a stark contrast between Arab and Jewish citizens in the perceptions of the status of Arabs in Israel. While majorities in both groups (52 percent of Jews, 57 percent of Arabs) believe that, There is legal equality but institutional and societal discrimination against the Arab minority, 36 percent of Arabs believe that the relationship between Jews and Arab in Israel is an apartheid relationship.
While only seven percent of Jews subscribe to that view, 33 percent of Jews believe there is full equality between Arab and Jewish citizens in Israel, but a mere three percent of Arabs share that view.
Jewish Israelis hold little hope for a resolution of the conflict in the near future, with only six percent saying it will be resolved in the next five years. Forty-nine percent believe it will never be resolved, while 42 percent say that it eventually will be, but it will take more than five years.
There is a widespread consensus among Israeli Jews that Israel must be recognised as a Jewish state, something the Palestinian Authority has adamantly refused to do. Thirty-nine percent insist such recognition must be a precondition of negotiations or a settlement freeze, while 40 percent are willing to accept that recognition as part of a final peace agreement. Only 17 percent do not support the demand for recognition as a Jewish state.
But when asked if they would accept defining Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people and all its citizens, 71 percent of Israeli Jews said they would support such a formulation, while only 25 percent oppose it.
By a 66 percent to 31 percent margin, Israeli Jews said they believe their government should be doing more to promote comprehensive peace with the Arabs based on the 1967 borders with agreed modifications, indicating dissatisfaction with the way the Netanyahu government has handled this issue.
Yet 47 percent of Israeli Jews also believe that if the two-state solution collapses, the status quo will continue with little change. Thirty-four percent believe it will lead to intense, long- term conflict.
Telhami pointed out that, In the Arab world, most believe that the collapse of the two-state solution will lead to intense conflict for years to come.