New Poll: East Jerusalem Arabs Would Prefer to Be Israeli Citizens Than ‘Palestinian’ Ones

As Israel-haters, including so-called human rights organizations, Congressmen and Congresswomen, and celebrities with huge followings accuse Israel of being an “apartheid” state, the evidence shows this to be not just false, but ridiculous.

Take this recent survey of the nearly 400,000 Arabs in East Jerusalem, commissioned by the Washington Institute and conducted by the Palestine Center for Public Opinion, for example:

As U.S. President Joe Biden prepares to visit Jerusalem, a June 2022 survey of the nearly 400,000 Palestinians there, commissioned by the Washington Institute and conducted by the Palestine Center for Public Opinion, shows that this public has reverted to relatively moderate positions—compared both to pre-pandemic polls and to West Bank attitudes today.

This new trend is most vividly expressed on the bellwether question of citizenship options. Today, half (48%) of the city’s Palestinian residents say that, if they had to make a choice, they would prefer to become citizens of Israel, rather than of a Palestinian state. From 2017 to early 2020, that figure hovered around just 20%.  Today, only a minority (43%) of East Jerusalemites say they would pick Palestine; while the remainder (9%) would opt for Jordanian citizenship.  Among West Bankers, the comparable figures are Israel, 25%; Palestine, 65%; Jordan, 10%.

Significantly, this sharp contrast is now evident on other, related questions as well.  For instance, in East Jerusalem, 63% agree at least “somewhat” with this purposely provocative statement: “It would be better for us if we were part of Israel, rather than in Palestinian Authority or Hamas ruled lands.” 

The current more conciliatory mood probably reflects their recent experience of access to Israeli health care, social welfare benefits, ability to travel both inside and outside Israel, and jobs during the past two years of Coronavirus issues. 

If Israel was an “apartheid” state, I doubt even 1% of the Arabs of East Jerusalem would prefer to be citizens of such a state over a state of Palestine.

These findings are not surprising to me, given the results of previous polls commissioned by others.

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media