Forward Thinking

Do Israelis Even Care About Statehood Bid?

By Nathan Jeffay

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What do Israelis feel about the Palestinian statehood bid? Judging by the talk of their leaders in New York, and Diaspora Jewish organizations that claim to be representing their interests, you may think they’re ready to fight it tooth and nail. But a surprisingly high seven out of ten think that if the US veto doesn’t pan out and the Palestinians are successful then Israel should accept the decision, according to a new poll. Half of these said Israel should start negotiations regarding its implementation.

The poll, which was conducted jointly by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah found that only 4% of respondents thought Israel should respond with force, invading Palestinian areas in order to prevent statehood. However, 16% believe Israel should oppose the decision and intensify the construction in the settlements; 7% think that Israel should annex the entire West Bank to Israel.

And what do Palestinians — resident in West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip — think should happen if the statehood bid succeeds? How could they bring about an Israeli withdrawal from their new state? One in four supports a return to armed attacks on army and settlers to this end, while 30% think negotiations will do the trick. But it seems that the idea of “non-violent resistance” has really taken hold among Palestinians — the chosen method of 37% of respondents, this was the most popular option.

The BBC World Service has been surveying public opinion internationally. Polling in 19 countries it found that more people want to see their governments back the bid — but only just. The poll of 20,446 citizens found that there are only nine countries where there is an outright majority of citizens in support of recognizing Palestine as a state. Overall 49% of respondents said that their government should support the bid, and 21% were against. The rest were undecided, did not know, backed an abstention or said it depends on various factors.


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