Public support in Israel for the establishment of a Palestinian state has hit a historic low, according to the findings of a new poll that shows the Israeli people are more skeptical than ever that the Palestinians will take the steps necessary to strike a peace accord with the Jewish state.
Israelis overwhelmingly feel that a full withdrawal from the West Bank would not serve Israeli interests and have soured on peace parameters first agreed to in historic talks orchestrated by former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, according to the poll, which was conducted this month by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, an Israeli think tank.
Nearly 70 percent of Israelis now say they do not expect peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to lead to a final agreement in the coming years, according to the poll.
The findings represent a significant change from the early 2000s, when more than half of Israelis still looked favorably on the Clinton parameters and believed Israel should make tough land concessions to foster an agreement.
"There has been a gradual decrease of (Jewish) Israeli willingness to agree to a withdrawal from the West Bank as part of a peace agreement—from 60% in 2005 to 36% in 2017," according to the poll. "There has also been a decline in support for the Clinton Parameters from 55% in 2005 to 29% in 2017."
Sixty-nine percent of those polled expressed skepticism about the possibility for a peace agreement in the "coming years."
Mounting opposition to the Clinton parameters represents a sea change in Israeli society, which once overwhelmingly backed the plan.
Under the Clinton plan, a demilitarized Palestinian state would be established in the West Bank while Jerusalem would be divided and serve as the capital of both nations.
In a major shift in public opinion, a majority of Israelis polled expressed opposition to proposals to hand over the West Bank to the Palestinians. This area has been contested in recent years, as Israel continues to build homes in areas of land the Palestinians claim as part of a future state.
Over 77 percent of Israelis polled opposed the idea of the Palestinians establishing a state in the West Bank, according to the poll.
An even larger percentage, 83 percent, are opposed to the Israelis granting the Palestinians control over the Temple Mount area in Jerusalem's walled Old City. Relinquishing control over this area was part of the terms of the Clinton plan.
Those polled also overwhelmingly rejected the idea of dividing Jerusalem.
"52 percent oppose the division of Jerusalem into Jewish and Arab sectors (with no mention that the capital of the Palestinian state will be in east Jerusalem)," according to the poll. "If Jerusalem is to become the Palestinian capital, agreement decreases to 33 percent and opposition increases to 59 percent."
"79% say it is important to retain a unified Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, while 15% say it is not important," according to the latest results, which again mark a profound shift in Israeli thinking on the peace process.