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Poll: Public Support Grows for One-State Solution to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

UMD Research Also Finds Polarization on U.S.’ Role as Mediator

By Sadat Chair/College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Staff


Image by iStock

Image by iStock

Americans are now evenly split between backing a one- and two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to results released today from the latest University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll.

Administered by Nielsen Scarborough from Sept. 12–Oct. 9, the online poll shows that 35 percent of American respondents believe that the United States should support a one-state solution, and 36 percent saying it should support a two-state solution.

This is a significant increase in support of the one-state solution, as compared with the UMD Critical Issues Poll of November 2017, which found that 41 percent of respondents favored a two-state solution, and 29 percent favored a one-state solution.

The new poll also shows that if two states are no longer an option, Americans heavily favor a single democratic state in which Arabs and Jews are equal, even if that means Israel would no longer be politically Jewish: 64 percent, vs. 26 percent of respondents who would choose the Jewishness of Israel, even if that means that Palestinians are not full citizens.

“These results indicate a rise in the number of Americans who back a one-state solution with equal citizenship,” said Professor Shibley Telhami, director of the Critical Issues Poll. “Though we have not fully analyzed the reasons for this shift, it may be a reflection of increasing pessimism about the prospects of a two-state solution. We do know from our previous polls that a majority of those who support two states say they would switch to one state if the former became unattainable.”

This new poll also looked at Americans’ views on other issues, including Israeli settlements in the West Bank. One of the questions tracked over time is what role Americans want their government to play in mediating the conflict: lean toward Israel, toward the Palestinians, or toward neither side. Here deep polarization continues, with a majority of Republicans wanting the U.S. to lean toward Israel, while a bigger majority of both Democrats and Independents want the U.S. to lean toward neither side.

Overall, a majority of American respondents (62 percent), including 82 percent of those who identified as Democrats and 74 percent of those who identified as Independents, said they want the United States to lean toward neither side, while 57 percent of respondents who identified as Republicans said they want it to lean toward Israel.

These results are part of a larger UMD Critical Issues Poll that gauged a number of issues, which will be released in the near future. Telhami and Professor Stella Rouse, associate director, served as the principal investigators for the poll.

A further analysis on these results is available in an article in Foreign Policy by Telhami showing that the U.S. public’s views on Israel’s policies are shifting. The questionnaire for the poll can be found here.



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