More Palestinians want to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court than fight them in the streets in an armed third intifada, according to new poll conducted by Khalil Shikaki of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Research.
Palestinian continue to support a two-state solution and do not believe that the newly unified Fatah-Hamas government is an obstacle to renewed negotiations, according to Shikaki’s data which he presented on Tuesday afternoon to the 2014 Herzliya Conference.
Israelis also believe it is possible to negotiate with the new Palestinian government, according to pollster Minah Tzemech, who spoke on the same panel as Shikaki. In the absence of talks, she said, Israelis prefer to annex portions of the West Bank, than to unilaterally withdraw from territory there. Israeli public opinion is evenly divided on the question of freezing West Bank settlement building, Tzemech said.
Both polls are among the first data points to measure Palestinian and Israeli public opinion on the changes in the peace process in the last two months.
Shakiki’s data was culled from face to face interviews of 1,270 Palestinians conducted June 5 to 7, in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, just days after the new unity government was sworn in. It has a 3% margin of error.
Tzemech, in turn, polled 500 Israelis over the telephone on May 28-29. Her work has a margin of error of 4.4% and was conducted for the IDC’s Institute of Policy and Strategy.
According to Shikaki, Palestinians showed more support for unilateral actions over negotiated ones, according to the data. It showed that 76% of the Palestinians wanted to turn to the International Criminal Court, even if it led to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority. An even larger number, 81%, wanted their government to join international organizations. But 54% said they would oppose any attempts by the United Nations Security Council to set the borders of a two-state solution.
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There was a slim majority support, 54% for a two-state solution, even though 61% of those polled said they believed it was impractical. More people in the West Bank, 58% supported a two-state solution, than in Gaza, where only 47% said they believe in it.
The majority of Palestinians, 59%, believe that a unified Fatah-Hamas government does not close the door on continued negotiations with Israel and that this new government should accept the four Quartet principles. These principles include recognition of Israel and a renunciation of violence.
Similarly, a majority of those polled, 69%, said they supported non violent options with respect to Israel and the conflict and 59% said they opposed an armed intifada.
But while 62% of those polled said they supported dissolving the armed group in Gaza, only 19% believed it should happen now.
Tzemech’s poll was more narrowly focused. It showed that 51% of Israel opposed negotiating with Hamas and 45% are against holding talks with the new Fatah-Hamas government.
A slim majority of Israelis 51% said they did support talks with the Palestinian unity government, if its hold true to its promise to supports the Quartet’s principles.
When it comes to freezing West Bank settlement activity, Israelis are fairly evenly divided with 49% opposing and 48% supporting, Tzemech said.
A poll done in July 2010, during the 10-month moratorium on settler housing starts, found that 49% of Israelis believed the building freeze should be extended beyond its end date, she said.
The poll she did two weeks ago, also measured Israeli public opinion on some of the day-after options Israeli society is debating that the peace talks have ended.
Her data showed that the most popular option, with 38% support was a return to negotiations. After that 20% of the Israelis polled preferred the plan put forward by Economic Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett to annex Area C of the West Bank. Another 20% supported the status quo. Only 7% said favored a plan of annexing the settlements blocs and withdrawing from isolated settlements such as Finance Minister Yair Lapid proposed. Only 3% said they wanted Israel to withdraw to the pre-1967 lines.
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Poll-Palestinians-prefer-suing-Israel-at-the-ICC-rather-than-starting-third-intifada-355893