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European Council on Foreign Relations



Israeli Debate


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

While Israeli public opinion is still generally supportive of the two-state solution, few key policy makers are on record supprting it and it is for the most part not at the top of the agenda. Senior officials increasingly decalre their opposition to two states and government policy placing  a significant  strain on two states across several indicators.

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General support for a two-state solution rose in Israel in 2013, with 62 percent of Israelis supporting it, while in March 2012, support stood at 56 percent, a small increase, with numbers appearing somewhat volatile between polls. Israeli support for negotiations was also high in 2013, with 65.3 percent of Israelis supporting them two months after their resumption. Yet, only 28.8 percent of Israelis think that a two-state solution can be achieved through negotiations; 51 percent of Israelis think that it is absolutely impossible to reach a final status agreement with the Palestinians; and 68 percent said that this would be impossible to achieve in the next five years.

Moreover, the two-state solution does not seem to be on the top of the agenda for most Israelis. In April 2013, only 10 percent ranked negotiations as a top priority, making this the fifth most important issue on the political agenda for Israelis, behind reducing the national deficit (12 percent), public order and violence (14 percent), the Iranian nuclear threat (16 percent), and the top item of the agenda, closing socio-economic gaps (39 percent).

Meanwhile, government figures continued to express support for variations on a one-state solution, including, for the first time, a senior government minister – Minister of Economics and Trade Naftali Bennett – who persistently and repeatedly called to abandon the two-state process and opt for partial annexation instead. Despite the renewal of peace talks with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), most members of the Israeli ruling coalition established in January 2013 have continued to either oppose, or failed to voice substantial support for, the two-state solution.