Israel is widely portrayed as the primary obstacle to peace in the Middle East, but a new poll reveals that Israelis may have very good reason for not trusting the intentions of their Palestinian peace partners.
Conducted by American pollster Stanley Greenberg and the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, the survey found that 61 percent of Palestinians do not accept the "two states for two peoples" formula that has thus far driven the peace process.
An even larger 66 percent said that while they would accept a "two-state solution" as a first step, they would want to eventually move on to replacing Israel with a single Palestinian state.
A full 92 percent said that even in a two-state solution phase, Jerusalem can be the capital of "Palestine" only, regardless of whether or not Israel retains control over the Jewish-dominated western half of the city.
Their intractable hard-line positions are the result of the fact that an overwhelming 72 percent of Palestinians reject any Jewish historical connection to Jerusalem and the land as a whole.
When your opponent is painted as an occupying invader with no legitimate reason to be in the land, it is easy to support violence against him, which most Palestinians do. Over 62 percent of respondents said Palestinian terror groups should abduct more Israeli soldiers until their demands are met, and 53 percent said they are in favor of teaching songs about hating Jews in Palestinian schools.
Note, that's not songs about hating Israel or the Zionists, but songs about hating the Jewish race of people. In other words, anti-Semitism is taught in Palestinian schools with parental approval and support. It is that kind of education that has kept a healthy 73 percent of Palestinian adults in agreement with the old Islamic teaching that one day every Jew must be hunted down and killed.
For now, the poll showed that an average "only" 30 percent of Palestinians support open warfare against Israel, while 65 percent feel that diplomatic efforts are currently meeting most of their needs.
By contrast, the vast majority of Israelis, even many of those on the right, long ago surrendered to the idea that an independent Palestinian Arab state is needed to end the conflict.
The problem most Israelis have is that while an agreement to a two-state solution may be signed with the current Palestinian leadership today, there is no telling who will be in charge of a Palestinian state tomorrow, especially given that a majority of Palestinians appear ready to vote into power groups like Hamas that have the ultimate goal of removing Israel from the map.