A Palestinian pollster has clarified that Palestinian majority support for what is called the two-state solution does not in fact mean that a majority of Palestinians accept Israel‘s existence or have relinquished their ambition to eliminate Israel. A September 2008 poll conducted by An-Najah National University Center for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies showed an apparent anomaly whereby, on one hand, a majority of Palestinians 54.3% “reject the creation of two states on the historic land of Palestine,” while, on the other, 67.1% of Palestinians supported “the creation of a Palestinian state on the 1967 occupied territories?”
Queried on this apparent anomaly by Dr. Aaron Lerner of Israel’s Independent Media Review Analysis, Dr. Hussein Ahmad, the Director of An-Najah’s polling center replied, “The result you asked about is correct, in my experience many people support to create [sic] a Palestinian state on 1967 territories, but when you asked them about Israel they rejected due to many different factors, one of it they oppose Israel’s existence, and you find this among Hamas supporter[s] for example according to Poll No. 35 that 72.4% of Hamas supporters reject the creation of two state on the historic land of Palestine (a Palestinian state and Israel), and 52.6% of Hamas supporters reject of a Palestinian state on the 1967 occupied territories , thus, you found a gap between the two questions” (‘Palestinian pollster to IMRA: Palestinian support for state in ’67 territories doesn’t mean accept Israeli state,’ Independent Media Review Analysis, November 6, 2008).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is vitally important that President-elect Obama, policy-makers, the media and the general public understand the revealing and crucial issue that emerges from this poll that most Palestinians support setting up their own state on territory limited to Judea, Samaria and Gaza, yet still do not accept Israel‘s existence.
“It is often said that Palestinians no longer embrace a program for eliminating Israel, but merely wish to live in their own independent state within the territories Israel captured in 1967. As a result, many conclude that Israel has an obligation to negotiate a peaceful outcome with the Palestinians. This poll and the explanation of it provided by the Palestinian pollster clearly indicate that this inference is tragically mistaken.
“Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) has demonstrated in countless ways that it neither accepts Israel as a Jewish state nor prepares its public for peace with Israel. It is notable that before, during and after last year’s Annapolis conference, Abbas and other senior PA figures explicitly rejected the idea of accepting Israel‘s existence as a Jewish state. Abbas said in 2006 to an Arab audience that “It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel.“ Last year, his Fateh party celebrated its 43rd anniversary by producing a new poster showing Israel entirely draped in a Palestinian kfiyyeh called ‘Palestine’ and flanked by a smiling photo of Yasser Arafat and a Kalashnikov rifle. More recently, PA TV has broadcast a music video of a song saying that the Jewish country of Israel was stolen from them. There is no map in PA stationary, publications, atlases or school texts that show Israel as anything other than ‘Palestine.’
“The evidence is clear and stark that Palestinians do not accept Israel‘s existence as an independent Jewish state even when they speak of negotiations and setting up their own state in the territories outside pre-1967 Israel. We must remind anyone and everyone of this fact the next time Israel is called upon to negotiate further concessions to the PA.”