PALESTINIAN PUBLIC’S WILLINGNESS TO COMPROMISE: TORN BETWEEN HOPE AND VIOLENCE

Michael SCHULZ

Abstract


This study has examined Palestinians’ readiness to compromise over the key issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In contrast to existing opinion poll results the claim that Palestinians support a territorial compromise over historical Palestine, this study indicates a radicalization of Palestinian atti- tudes. Four survey studies, conducted in 1997, 2001, 2006 and 2009, reveal that Palestinian support for a two-state solution have decreased at the ex- pense of an increased preference for an Islamic state in the whole of histori- cal Palestine. Also, Palestinians do not believe that peace with Israel can be achieved in the near future, and are ready to continue their struggle against Israeli occupation in the West Bank. The study also reveals that Palestinians are becoming increasingly isolated and hence less exposed to alternative strategies in the conflict with Israel. These attitudinal changes follow the negative developments in the peace process and the violence that erupted between Israelis and Palestinians in September 2000. Consequently, the lack of current public pressure on the Palestinian leadership to find a political compromise with Israel risks continued deadlock in the conflict. These changes also partly explain why Palestinians voted the Hamas movement into power in the January 2006 election.

Key words: Israeli-Palestinian conflict, compromise, public opinion, peace process, violence


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