Majority in Israel and Palestine for "two states"

Submitted by martin on 3 December, 2003 - 10:49

A poll published on 23 November showed 56% of Palestinians and 53% of Israelis in favour of the "two-states" terms of the Geneva Accords.
The Geneva plan, published some weeks ago and officially launched on 1 December, proposes an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, with the border roughly along the 1967 lines.
It was devised by soft-leftish Israeli politicians and some Palestinian leaders, and has been backed by Palestinian president Yasser Arafat. The US government has "welcomed" it gingerly and agreed to meet with its authors, while not specifically endorsing it.
There are some shifts on the ground, too. Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon is still under pressure from strikes, and Hamas and Islamic Jihad are discussing another unilateral ceasefire.
We are still, however, a long way from the mass united Israeli-Palestinian working-class movement which could really enforce a democratic "two states" policy.
Both in Israel and in the Occupied Territories there has been strong opposition to the Geneva text.
In Israel, Sharon has attacked supporters of Geneva as "traitors". A more recent poll, asking people about Geneva by name, rather than (as in the earlier poll) its substantive terms without the name, showed only 30-odd per cent support for it.
In the Territories, Islamists have led demonstrations against it. The plan provides for bites to be taken from the Territories by Israel under the plan ("compensated" by Israel ceding bits of desert near the Gaza Strip to Israel), and the future Palestinian state to be demilitarised.
Most contentious, however, apparently, is the plan's silence on the Palestinian "right to return" to Israel (taken by its Israeli authors as abrogation). A mass collective "right of return" for four or five million descendants of the 1948 refugees to Israel is incompatible with Israeli-Jewish self-determination, and no peace deal could ever include it. To that extent even the silence of the Palestinians who support the plan is a step forward towards a future where Israeli Jews and Palestinians have equal collective rights, and individuals have equal rights to move freely across the borders between them.
Naturally, however, many Palestinians, pauperised and terrorised by the relentless Israeli occupation, are unhappy about concessions by their leaders without any visible sign of anything in return.
Israel out of the Occupied Territories! Two nations, two states!

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