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European Council on Foreign Relations



Palestinian Debate


Do social, attitudinal, and political trends in Palestine strain or sustain prospects for a two-state settlement?

Concrete steps toward national reconciliation are still lacking as are steps to revive the democratic mandate of Palestinian national institutions, while Palestinian public opinion is increasingly less hopeful and supportive of the two-state solution.

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While 55 percent of Palestinians said in March 2013 that they supported a two-state solution, few Palestinians think that the current talks will actually lead to a two-state solution in the short term. Asked in November 2013 whether they think that the current talks will lead to an agreement, 11 percent said that this would happen in one year, 19 percent predicted that this would happen in five years, and 22 percent said that an agreement is inevitable but that it would take more than five years; 47 percent, on the other hand, said that they did not believe that a peace agreement would ever be reached.

At the same time, according to the findings of a November 2013 poll, 50.5 percent of Palestinian respondents said that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) should not have agreed to restart talks, while 33.8 percent voiced their support for talks. In the same month, only 27.1 percent of Palestinians polled considered nonviolent resistance the most useful approach, versus 29.3 percent of Palestinians who backed armed resistance.

Meanwhile, levels of confidence in the Palestinian leadership, in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, declined slightly between December 2012 and June 2013, although not at the same pace as they did for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in the West Bank and Gaza respectively: while levels of confidence in the former decreased from 53.5 percent in December 2012 to 48 percent in June 2013, levels of confidence in the latter fell from 55.9 percent in December 2012 to 41.2 percent in June 2013. This reflects a lack of progress in implementing the Cairo agreement on reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas and the two ruling parties’ inability to form a transitional unity government.

Public perceptions of corruption amongst Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza remained high and increased slightly from December 2012 to June 2013. In June 2013, 77 percent of the Palestinian public expressed a belief that corruption was a problem in the West Bank, and 61 percent expressed the same for Gaza; these figures stood at 74 percent in the West Bank and 53 percent in Gaza respectively in December 2012.