Call for papers vol 9, no. 1, 2018 is open until 30 March 2018

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

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are all working towards implementing this resolution. Furthermore, the Arab League, which
has boycotted Israel since the organization’s formation in 1945, also proposed a two-state
solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, during its 2002 meeting in Beirut. If a Palestinian
state is established in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital, the
Arab League wills ‘[c]onsider the Arab-Israeli conflict over, sign a peace agreement with
Israel, and achieve peace for all states in the region.’2 This is the same position taken by
the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The then Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon,
and the current Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, accepted the principle of
the so-called roadmap that the UN, USA, EU and Russia launched, as well as the basic idea
of the Arab League visions during meetings between the two leaders in Aqaba in June
2003. Sharon said that ‘[i]t is up to the Palestinians to govern themselves in their own
state.’3 Abbas, said: ‘Our goal is two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side.’4 Even
the current considered hardline Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said in
2009 that he accepts: ‘a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state.’5 Therefore,
despite differences over how much and which parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip
should be part of the future Palestinian State, a global consensus for a two-state solution
emerges.
Why, then, is the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians in a deadlock? The
public opinion in both Palestinian and Israeli societies provides a complex conflict picture.
Israeli society has historically, according to some studies (Arian 1995, Sofer 2001), been
reluctant to compromise on territory. According to these studies, Israelis are skeptical
about the willingness of the Palestinians to have peace, and to accept and recognize the
state of Israel. Following the outbreak of the so-called al-Aqsa intifada in 2000, Israelis
increasingly lost faith in the willingness of the Palestinians to have peace with Israel
(Meitel 2006:119ff). The victory of the Islamic movement Hamas in the January 2006 Palestinian
election (with its Reform and Change list) further spurred Israeli skepticism. The
Tami Steinmetz Centre at Tel Aviv University has, since 1994, conducted monthly opinion
polls on the willingness of Israelis to achieve peace with the Palestinians and the price they
are willing to pay in order to achieve peace. The so-called peace index (www.tau.ac.il/
peace/) shows that the level of belief that peace can be achieved is high. The two permanent
general questions asked are: ‘Do you consider yourself a supporter or opponent to the
peace process between Israel and the Arabs?’; and ‘Do you believe or not believe that in the
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2 From the Arab League’s Beirut declaration in 2002 (www.al-bab.com/arab/docs/league/communique02.htm).
3 From www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,970282,00.html.
4 From www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,970282,00.html.
5 From http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31353238/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa/ (2010-04-22).



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Security Dialogues by Toni Mileski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at sd.fzf.ukim.edu.mk.

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