While the international community clings to visions of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli public opinion is unified in asserting that the establishment of a Palestinian state is unrealistic and undesirable.
Only 12 percent of Jewish Israelis believe that withdrawing from the West Bank would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a survey published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs at the end of March.
Overall, Jewish support for withdrawal from the West Bank has decreased from 60 percent in 2005 to 36 percent in 2017. The survey also found that 79 percent of Jewish Israelis believe that it is important to retain a unified Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. Such a stance is at odds with the international community’s oft-mentioned two-state plan of dividing Jerusalem and making it the capital of both Israel and a proposed Palestinian state.
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An ongoing wave of Palestinian terrorism since the fall of 2015 — most recently, the murders of British exchange student Hannah Bladon in a stabbing attack and Israeli soldier Sgt. Elhai Teharlev in a car ramming — has apparently cooled the Israeli public’s appetite for a deal involving a Palestinian state.
“The Palestinian insistence on having their capital in Jerusalem is the true obstacle to peace,” Professor Efraim Inbar of Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies told JNS.org.
Inbar also emphasized the significance of Jewish Israelis’ “large support for Israeli control of the Temple Mount,” the eastern Jerusalem holy site where Jewish prayer is currently banned, but where the Israeli government maintains security control.
“Jews in the Diaspora, as well as many Christians, also sympathize with Israel’s positions on Jerusalem,” Inbar said. “Therefore, Israel’s insistence on Jerusalem will put the onus of failure on the Palestinians.”
Inbar wrote in an April 5 article that, “The only approach that can succeed in Israel’s current conflicts is a patient, attritional, repetitive use of force. … Israelis should take comfort that time is on Israel’s side.”
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