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Most Jewish-Israelis oppose Palestinian state as ‘deal of the century’ waits in the wings

April 29, 2019 at 1:31 pm

Palestinian protesters burn a poster with a picture of US President Donald Trump during a demonstration against the deal of century, in the West Bank city of Hebron, 22 February 2019 [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apa Images]

A new survey has found that the majority of Jewish-Israelis oppose the creation of any Palestinian state in the future. The results have been released as America’s “deal of the century” is nearing the date when details will be revealed.

The “Peace Index” survey – published yesterday by Tel Aviv University’s Evens Programme in Mediation and Conflict Management and the Migdam Consulting and Research Institute – found that 53 per cent of Jewish-Israelis reject a solution to the conflict based on establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. Only 40 per cent of Jewish-Israelis support this option, while among Palestinian citizens of Israel support stands at 68 per cent.

On whether any resolution will be found in the near future, only 22 per cent of Jewish-Israelis who responded believe that a Palestinian state will be created. This is roughly identical to the number who believe that Israeli annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) will take place, which is 20 per cent. Some 43 per cent of Jewish-Israelis apparently believe that nothing will change in the near future.

The topic of annexation has gained traction this month in the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s promise to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. In what was seen as opportunism to attract support of the right-wing ahead of the General Election on 9 April, Netanyahu said: “I am going to extend [Israeli] sovereignty [to the West Bank] and I don’t distinguish between settlement blocs and the isolated settlements.” Most of these settlements are located in Area C, which amounts to some 60 per cent of the territory and is home to almost 300,000 Palestinians.

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Since Netanyahu’s promise of annexation, several other high profile figures have effectively quashed any hope of a future Palestinian state. Just a week after Netanyahu’s announcement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Israel’s annexation of the West Bank would not harm the so-called “deal of the century”, the long-awaited US peace plan spearheaded by Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, senior advisors to US President Donald Trump.

A report this month by the Washington Post revealed that the “deal of the century” – long believed to be biased in favour of Israel – makes no provisions for a Palestinian state in the oPt. The deal will instead reportedly offer the Palestinian leadership economic incentives to develop the territories and provide a certain amount of “autonomy” as opposed to “sovereignty”.

Repeatedly delayed, the deal is now slated for release after Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting which this year will take place in May and early June. During a forum for Time Magazine in New York last week, chief architect Kushner explained that “we were getting ready at the end of last year” but the process was interrupted by the Israeli election. “Prime Minister Netanyahu had a great victory,” he added, “and he’s in the middle of forming his coalition, and once that’s done we’ll probably be in the middle of Ramadan, so we’ll wait until after Ramadan and then we’ll put our plan out.”

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