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Divorcing Settlement Expansion From a Two-State Solution

By Nathan Jeffay

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Outside of Israel, the opinions tend to follow one another — those who are keen to see a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians tend to be concerned about settlement building. In Israel, a new poll indicates, the two positions don’t necessarily go together.

The War and Peace Index, a monthly public opinion survey by Tel Aviv University, found that 64% of the Jewish public in Israel is for a two-state solution, while almost the same number of people, 60% of the Jewish population, thinks that continued building in the settlements won’t affect the changes of it happening.

Breaking down the results, of those who are for a two-state solution, some 54% are not concerned about continued building. This points to a dichotomy between the way Israelis and other see the peace process, with settlement building perceived within Israel as a smaller threat to the two-state solution than it is outside Israel.

This could be for a couple of reasons. It may just be because Israelis consider other problems with the peace process, such as questions about whether Israel has a partner for negotiations, as the key challenges to the peace process while settlements can be dismantled if the time comes. The other possible reason is that much of the building taking place today is within the so-called settlement “blocs” that are expected to be Israeli after any peace agreement, and as such doubt that building there affects the possibility of reaching an agreement.

The War and Peace Index also found a massive discrepancy in knowledge about the Goldstone Report between the Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. Three out of five Jewish Israelis said they know what the report’s main conclusion was while only one in five Israeli Arabs said they knew. Among the Jewish interviewees who responded that they are aware of the report’s main conclusion, some 93.5% said that the report was biased against the Israel Defense Forces.


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