The majority of the Israeli public supports the idea of a two-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict, with 53.5 percent in favor, as opposed to 38%, a poll conducted by the New Wave Research firm for Israel Hayom shows.
Some 800 respondents were asked: "Do you support or oppose the idea of two states for two peoples, i.e., the creation of a Palestinian state independent from Israel?"
However, when asked what the chances are that such a solution will, in actuality, come to pass, the results flipped: 40.6% think that it is feasible, while 54.3% feel that a two-state solution to the conflict is not possible.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a gathering of Israel's worldwide ambassadors on Thursday that Israel would demand an end to the conflict in any renewed negotiations with the Palestinians.
The Israel Hayom poll suggest that the majority of the Israeli public does not trust Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, with 55% of respondents saying that Abbas is not a partner with whom the conflict can be resolved.
The poll was conducted between Jan. 1 and 3 among a random sample of 822 respondents from all sectors of the Israeli public from 18 years of age and up. The statistical margin of error is plus or minus 3.4%
While politicians from the Left have consistently insisted that Netanyahu freeze construction in settlements in Judea and Samaria to facilitate the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians, the public, it appears, is divided on this issue: 43.4% say that Israel should build more housing in Judea and Samaria whereas 43.5% say that construction must be halted.
But while the public is equally divided on Judea and Samaria, when it comes to east Jerusalem, opposition to construction is significantly lower: 46.4% say they favor construction in east Jerusalem whereas 39.5% say they are against it.
With less than three weeks before the upcoming elections on Jan. 22, the poll demonstrates that the top two parties are polling with disappointing results. Though Likud-Beytenu maintains a substantial lead over the other parties, the poll forecasts only 34 Knesset seats for the ruling party. Labor comes in second with 16 Knesset seats, only two seats more than the third largest party — Habayit Hayehudi — which polls at 14 seats.
The right-wing bloc, together with the ultra-Orthodox parties, polls at 64 seats. The left-wing bloc polls at 43 seats, and together with the Arab factions it climbs to 54 seats.
The Am Shalem ("Whole Nation") party, which according to this poll will meet the minimum threshold of votes and win two Knesset seats, defies classification and cannot be attributed to either bloc at this time.
Obviously, one of the factors that will affect the results of the election will be voter turnout. Every party's constituency has different voting patterns: there are parties whose support is more brittle and less disciplined, and there are parties that have solid throngs of supporters who would brave any weather to get to the polling booths to achieve their goals — the maximum number of Knesset seats for the party.
According to the poll, 60% of respondents said they will definitely vote on Jan. 22. If you take into account the additional respondents who said that there was a 75% chance that they would vote, you get a projected turnout of close to 75%, which is high in comparison with previous elections.
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who has enlisted to help Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz in this election, said this week that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasn't fit to be the prime minister. But the public feels differently.
When asked about the suitability of the various candidates for the position of prime minister, there was a huge gap between Netanyahu and the rest of the candidates. Altogether 43.2% of respondents said that Netanyahu was best suited for the position, while Tzipi Livni, a distant second, was described as best suited for the post by a mere 12.9%.
Meanwhile, Israel is closely monitoring the events beyond its northern border, hoping that neither of the warring sides in Syria will try to drag Israel into the mix. According to the poll, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's fate has essentially already been sealed: 68.9% of respondents say that Assad's regime will collapse soon, whereas only 11.4% say that Assad will remain in power.
And despite everything, the average Israeli is still optimistic: 61.5% of respondents describe themselves as optimistic when it comes to Israel's and the world's future as the fresh new year unfolds.
When asked to describe their level of optimism or pessimism on a personal level rather than a global sense, the optimists rose to an even higher percentage, with 76.2% describing themselves as optimistic.