More on “What if the Palestinians Don’t Want a State?”

Yesterday, I wondered whether the Obama Administration has pondered whether the Palestinians are at this point willing to accept a state based on the formula that “everyone knows” is the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: A Palestinian state in all of Gaza, and 90%+ of the West Bank, plus land swaps to make up for West Bank land that would be incorporated into Israel, with the Palestinians giving up the right of return.

I pointed out that surveys suggesting that Palestinians support establishing a state based on the ’67 boundaries does not answer the question, because such surveys don’t ask whether the Palestinians are willing to accept this as a final resolution of the conflict.

So here are some interesting data from a recent poll conducted by a Palestinian polling outfit based at a university in Nablus. The (relatively) good news: Do you accept the creation of a Palestinian state on the total area of the 1967 borders as a final solution for the Palestinian problem? Yes 51.7 No 44.7

The bad news: Do you accept the creation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with some land exchange as a final solution for the Palestinian problem [the far more plausible scenario]? Yes 28.3% No 66.7%

The really bad news: Do you support or reject making Jerusalem a capital for two states: Palestine and Israel? Support 20.8% Reject 77.4%

These data raise serious issues regarding whether an Israeli-Palestinian settlement can currently be reached. Israel is not under any conceivable scenario going to uproot the almost 200,000 Jewish residents of East Jerusalem, nor is it going to evacuate the major settlement blocs. Yet only 20% or so of Palestinians would support a peace agreement that did not include these concessions, which suggests that the Palestinians support only a hypothetical peace settlement which they are aware is not within reach. If these poll numbers are an accurate reflection of Palestinian public opinion, the Obama Administration should spend its political capital elsewhere; pressuring Israel is not going to lead to a permanent settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

H/T: Daled Amos