This week, historian Benny Morris published a column on recent polling data released jointly by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion and the Israel Project.
Based on 1,010 interviews conducted this month with Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, the results are disturbing. As Morris notes (emphasis below is ours):
About 80 percent of those polled agreed that it was the duty of all Muslims to participate in jihad to eradicate Israel.
The poll also found that 61 percent of Palestinians rejected the American-Israeli formulation for a settlement of the conflict based on two states for two peoples, one for the Arabs and one for the Jews. Only 34 percent of Palestinians questioned supported a "two-states-for-two-peoples" solution.
The poll reflects the decades of Palestinian—PLO-Palestine National Authority and Hamas—education and incitement of the population of the territories against Israel and, more generally, the Jews. Fifty-three percent of those polled favored teaching in Palestinian schools songs promoting hatred of Jews. But 66 percent of those polled adopted the PLO-PNA gradualist approach of a two-stage "solution" to the problem of Israel, approving a first stage in which there would be two states before moving onto "stage two" with the establishment of one Palestinian Arab-majority state over all of Palestine.
These results speak to a core obstacle to peace and reconciliation. Indeed, it is dangerous for the Palestinian Authority to allow anti-Jewish incitement in its official media, schools, and mosques, while at the same time declaring to the world its readiness for peaceful statehood alongside Israel.
The Palestinian leadership must make a decision. It cannot continue telling Palestinians to prepare for one state (which would be built on Israel's ruins) while telling everyone else it supports two states for two peoples. This is an unsustainable, deceptive path which can only lead to a painful collapse of hopes among all parties – whether those hopes are for one state or two states.
To read Morris' entire column, click here.
To see the full report and results of this poll, click here.