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More than half of Israelis oppose Palestinian state for Saudi ties

Jewish Israelis are fairly split on whether the primary aim of the war should be toppling Hamas or bringing home the hostages.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, Jordan, Oct. 13, 2023. Photo by Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, Jordan, Oct. 13, 2023. Photo by Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.

More than half of the Israeli public opposes the creation of a Palestinian state as part of a deal that would end the war against Hamas and normalize relations between Jerusalem and Riyadh, according to a new poll.

“Do you support or oppose the notion that as part of a deal to end the war—which will include long-term military quiet, guarantees from the United States, and an agreement with Arab states such as Saudi Arabia—Israel should agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state?” asked the January 2024 Israeli Voice Index, conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute’s Viterbi Family Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research.

Fifty-one percent of Israelis opposed this proposal, compared to 36% expressing support.

A breakdown by nationality reveals that a majority of Jewish Israelis are opposed to the idea (59%, versus 29% who are in favor), while among Arab Israelis the picture is reversed (69% support and only 10% opposed).

Jewish Israelis are fairly split on whether the primary aim of the war should be toppling Hamas or bringing home the hostages, with 42% expressing support for the former and 47% for the latter. Among Arab Israelis, 69% said freeing the hostages should be the main goal, versus a small minority (8%) who prioritized eliminating Hamas. A sizeable 23% of Arab Israeli respondents said they don’t know.

Only 39% of Israelis said that the State of Israel was successfully ensuring their security, a rate similar to that in 2022 but representing a sharp decline from 76% in 2020 and 56% in 2021.

The pollsters questioned a representative sample of 619 Jewish and 153 Arab Israelis aged 18 and over on Jan. 28-30. The margin of error for the entire sample is ±3.59% at a confidence level of 95%.

A November IDI survey found that only one in five right-wing Israeli Jews backs a two-state solution in exchange for American war support, whereas 75% of left-wing Israeli Jews support pursuing a two-state solution in return for U.S. assistance. Forty-five percent of Israeli Jews in the center agreed with this policy.

Overall, a slight majority (52%) of Israeli Jews opposed pursuing a two-state solution after the war in exchange for U.S. financial aid, while a majority (55%) of Israeli Arabs were in favor of it.

It remains unclear why the two-state solution question was connected to ending the war and Saudi normalization, and previously to the Biden administration and American assistance, and not asked as a standalone or follow-up question, which might have yielded different results.

In December, an IDI poll found that a majority of Jewish Israelis believe that antisemitism is driving international criticism of the Gaza war.

Asked about the mass demonstrations and public outcry against Israel’s military campaign against Hamas, 62% of Jewish residents said it was due to hatred of Israel and antisemitism, compared to 7.5% who said it was due to civilian casualties and destruction in Gaza and 22% who said both are equal drivers.

In contrast, only 10.5% of Arab Israelis believe that the protests abroad are due to antisemitism, while 52% believe that they are because of the devastation in Gaza and 11% said both equally.

At the time, about two-thirds of Israelis thought that the goal of toppling Hamas in Gaza was achievable, while only 35.5% believed it was possible to bring back all of the hostages.

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