Israel-Palestine Peace Talks: Will They Succeed?

Sep 27th, 2013 | Category: World

In August, the United States began a series of brokered peace talks between the nations’ leaderships for the first time in almost five years.  The goal of the talks is to culminate in an agreement within nine months.

The process began with the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners, but recently Palestine has expressed doubts that Israel will make the compromises necessary to make the peace talks successful.  The continued construction of Jewish Settler homes in the West Bank makes Palestinian authorities feel that Israel is not taking the peace talks seriously.

“Somebody needs to tell the Israelis: ‘Give this peace process a chance, because if your pattern is to prevent Palestinians from coming to the negotiating table, you’re about to succeed,” said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat.

Israelis appear similarly pessimistic.  In late September, a series of attacks against Israeli troops has made Israeli leaders skeptical about the willingness of the Palestinians to cooperate in the name of peace.  The Israeli Minister of Economy and Commerce posted on his Facebook page: “We cannot make peace with terrorists who throw the bodies of soldiers into pits; we must fight them without mercy.”

The American people display more optimism of the process.  According to a survey from MPO, only about one quarter of Americans expect the peace talks to fail completely.

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 12.22.56 PMA Partisan Divide

Americans who do not approve of President Obama’s job performance, for instance, are much more pessimistic.  37% of those who disapprove of Obama don’t believe there will ever be peace between Israel and Palestine, compared to only 8% of those who approve of the president’ performance.

Those opposing Obama are also much more likely to blame Palestinians for the conflict, suggesting that this group needs to make the most concessions in order for the region to have peace.  Obama supporters, on the other hand, tend to say that more is required of Israel, or that both sides need to make major concessions.

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Different age groups seem to have differing expectations of the peace talks.  Older Americans, for instance are more optimistic about the possibility of peace in the region than are those under the age of 50.

Some groups are more likely to believe that Palestine is responsible for making the concessions required for peace.  Those in their 30s and over the age of 50 are all almost twice as likely as other groups to say that Palestine needs to compromise.

The two oldest groups are more likely to say that both groups need to make some major concessions, while the youngest American voters are the most likely to believe that peace will come, but well after the nine month deadline proposed by the peace talks.

AgeScreen Shot 2013-09-25 at 11.15.00 AMEducation

Opinions from different educational cohorts were fairly similar.  In most surveys conducted by MPO, education tends to yield some correlation to opinion, though this does not seem to be the case for this question.

There were a few minor differences, however.  For instance, respondents with the most and least education are the most critical of Israel’s role in the region’s conflict.  The two least educated groups are also slightly more likely to believe that the region will achieve peace, whether within the nine month timeline or further in the future.

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Data came from a survey of 555 respondents over the month of August 2013.  The margin of error is 3.83%.