(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Half of eastern Jerusalem’s Arab residents—52 percent—would prefer to be Israeli citizens, while only 45 percent of them would prefer to be citizens of a future Palestinian state, a recent survey by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy found.
A similar survey held by the institute in 2011 found that only 40 percent of eastern Jerusalem’s Arab residents preferred Israeli citizenship over “Palestinian citizenship.”
Institute fellow David Pollock, who conducted both surveys, presented the findings at a conference hosted by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies on Tuesday. Pollock said the 2015 poll found “modern” and “more realistic” views among eastern Jerusalem’s Arabs, compared with those living in Judea and Samaria as well as the Gaza Strip. The poll found that 70 percent of eastern Jerusalem’s Arabs support a two-state solution and “recognize the Jewish people’s right to a state,” while only 13 percent of Judea and Samaria’s Arabs and 11 percent of Gazans said the same.
But while 40 percent of the Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem “recognize that Jews have some rights” to Israel, Pollock said almost no Arabs residing in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza agreed.
Pollock believes the desire to become Israeli citizens stems from social benefits afforded to eastern Jerusalem Arabs who have an Israeli resident status. Nevertheless, the survey found that the majority of Arabs residing in eastern Jerusalem have radical views: 61 percent support armed conflict with Israel, including vehicular terrorist attacks, and a majority said they are politically affiliated with the Gaza-ruling Hamas terrorist group, not the Palestinian Authority.