Palestinians eyeing one Palestinian state, poll finds

Palestinians eyeing one Palestinian state, poll finds

JERUSALEM — A majority of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza view the two-state solution as a precursor to one Palestinian state, a new poll found.

The poll sponsored by The Israel Project found in a series of questions to respondents that most of the Palestinians have not reconciled themselves to the long-term existence of the Jewish state.

Although 23 percent accept the statement that “Israel has a permanent right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people,” two-thirds chose the statement “over time Palestinians must work to get back all the land for a Palestinian state.”

Thirty percent agreed with the statement that “the best goal is for a two-state solution that keep two states living side by side,” while 60 percent chose “the real goal should be to start with two states but then move it to all being one Palestinian state.”

The Palestinians do appear, however, to be moving away from Hamas, as the poll found that positive feelings toward the group have decreased since a similar survey last year. In Gaza, negative feelings toward Hamas climbed 13 points to 56 percent, and in the West Bank, negative feelings doubled to 53 percent.

Gazans disapprove of the job being done by the ruling Hamas by 56 to 40 percent, with 31 percent saying they strongly disapprove. Asked who they would vote for if elections were held, solid majorities in both the West Bank and Gaza preferred Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party over Hamas. In the West Bank, Fatah leads Hamas 50 percent to 28 percent; in Gaza, 44 percent to 27 percent.

On Iran, the poll found frosty opinions among Palestinians: a 55 percent rating of “cool” overall, with 39 percent offering a “very cold” rating. The country’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, received nearly identical marks..

Some 854 Palestinians — 538 in the West Bank and 316 from Gaza — participated in face-to-face interviews from Oct. 4 to 15. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Stanley Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research conducted the poll as a part of The Israel Project’s Arabic Media Program for people-to-people peace.