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option received the support of only 2.3 percent. 13.6 percent of those surveyed believed
that there is no solution.10 A more recent study, in June 2006 gives an even more optimistic
view. This study revealed 52.5 percent of Palestinians surveyed preferred a two-state
solution (‘an Israeli state and a Palestinian state’), while only 7.4 percent wanted a Palestinian
state in the whole of historical Palestine. 23.6 percent supported the bi-national option.
The studies give the impression that the two-state solution, which is the compromise
solution, has solid support from Palestinians. Besides, the lack of a trend analysis over time
there are also methodological concerns due to how the questions have been asked. Hence,
it is dangerous to draw firm conclusions from existing research data that Palestinians are
reluctant to compromise. Further, most of the analysis draws conclusions in relation to
synchronic contemporary political developments and is less focused on diachronic process
changes. The most important exception is Shikaki’s study (1996a, 1996b) that empirically
identifies a pattern where the increases and decreases in Palestinian support for Hamas
are linked to the successes and failures of the PA in their negotiations with Israel. When
the negotiations failed, the support for Hamas increased, and vice versa.
Methodological considerations
The thrust of this study is to inquire into the Palestinian public’s preferred solution to
the overall Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It also examines the Palestinians’ preferred solutions
to the key conflict issues, namely the future of the Palestinian refugees, the Israeli settlements
and the city of Jerusalem. These analyses are designed to reveal the extent to which
the Palestinian public is ready to compromise in order to achieve peace with Israel. They
may also reveal the extent to which the PA’s top-decision makers have public support for
compromise in their negotiations with Israel. The underlying argument is that the space
available for the PA leadership to maneuver and compromise will increase with a strong
public backing for compromise solutions. The study also incorporates issues that relates to
Palestinians’ perceptions about Israel, about the possibilities of having peace and relations
with the state of Israel, and about their personal relations with Israelis.
The aim of this analysis of the prospects for peace is to investigate the political culture11
within a specific context. From an historical perspective, one could argue that the
10 JMCC Opinion Poll No 51, June 2004, Poll results on Palestinian attitudes towards the Palestinian Political
issues and the intifada,
11 Political culture refers here to ‘a people’s predominant beliefs, attitudes, values, ideals, sentiments, and
evaluations about the political system of its country, and the role of the self in that system’ (Diamond 1993,p. 3). It should also be noted that the very notion of ‘political culture’ is debated. Attitudes and behaviour are usually the foci of such an analysis.

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