In Focus

New Poll: the Two-State Solution is Still the Preferred Formula on Both Sides

A poll published in August by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and the Israel Democracy Institute found that 59% of Israelis and 51% of Palestinians still support the two-state solution to the conflict. In contrast, only 20% of Jews in Israel and only 34% of Palestinians support a one-state solution with equal rights to all.
According to the survey, both sides underestimate the level of support for the two-state solution on their side: among the Palestinians, 47% said a majority opposes it; among the Israelis, 57% said the majority opposes it. Similarly, they underestimate the level of support for the two-state solution on the other side and think that there is a majority that opposes the two-state solution: 49% of the Palestinians believe a Jewish majority opposes it; and 44% of Israelis said a Palestinian majority opposes it.
The survey also found that 52% of Israelis would support a peace agreement that, in the spirit of the Geneva Initiative, includes the establishment of a Palestinian state in the entirety of West Bank and the Gaza strip, except for several blocks of settlements which will be annexed to Israel in a territorial exchange.
Interestingly, a quarter of the Israelis who oppose this solution are willing to reconsider their opposition to the peace deal if it was accompanied by a peace agreement with all Arab states according to the Arab Initiative's principles.



Putting Women at the Forefront of Peace Promotion

Throughout July we ran a one of a kind Leadership Course to Empower Israeli Women to Promote Peace, in which a group of aspiring female leaders met for a series of lectures, workshops and discussions, through which they were given the knowledge and tools necessary to promote the two-state solution. Next on the agenda: meeting graduates of the parallel Palestinian course!



Liberman prevents the Geneva Initiative from meeting President Abbas

The Israeli Minister of Defense prevented the heads of the Geneva Initiative from meeting with President Abbas, in what has turned out to be a clearly politically motivated decision.

The meeting, which was scheduled to take place Monday (July 11), was supposed to bring together the heads of the Geneva Initiative, several senior members of Likud, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and the PA’s liaison to Israel Muhammad Al-Madani. As required from Israelis who want to visit Palestinian cities, the Geneva Initiative applied for a permit to enter Ramallah. The request was denied due to the current “security considerations”, which came as a surprise as the Geneva Initiative visits Palestinian cities often, including since the latest wave of violence has began. On Monday evening, however, Channel 10 quoted the Defense Minister spokesman saying that the decision was in fact not based on security considerations but spurred by suspicions that Al-Madani has been involved in "internal Israeli political affairs".

“We will meet the Palestinian partner, if not this week - then next week.”, says Gadi Baltiansky, Geneva Initiative’s Israeli Director General. “Not only does the Israeli government refuse to talk to the Palestinian leadership – it also won’t let anyone else to, but nothing will stop us from building the necessary bridges that will eventually lead us to peace”. Click here for today's report at Haaretz.




Seminar for Key Political Activists

In late June, we held a two-day seminar for 40 key Israeli political activists. The seminar provided the participants with an understanding of the history of the conflict and negotiations, core issues of the conflict, the narrative of the other side, the two-state solution and the potential fruits of peace.
Participants were key political activists from across the Israeli political spectrum, especially ones from centrist and right-wing parties such as Likud, Kulanu and Yesh Atid. They also included leading social activists who live and operate in Israel's social/geographic periphery. The diverse and inclusive nature of this group created an extremely stimulating environment in which participants constantly challenged each other's views and opinions.
As part of the seminar, the participants got to talk to Ashraf Al-Ajrami, former Palestinian Minister of Prisoners, who told them about the 'Palestinian partner'. Explaining why it is so hard for moderate Israelis and Palestinians to be heard, Al-Ajarmi said that "during a conflict, extremist rhetoric is always the one to prevail - and so no one is able to hear the moderate voices of those who want a normal life for themselves and their children." The conversation was heated, at times emotional; but for many of the participants, who have never had a chance to speak with a Palestinian former official before, this encounter was nothing less than eye opening. One Likud activist wondered after she met him: "could it really be that there are people on the other side who genuinely want peace? why is it that we never hear them - is it them who fail to be heard, or us who fail to listen"?
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