February 15, 2019 | By Dina Smeltz

Opinion Landscape Not Ideal for New Mideast Peace Plan

At a Middle East conference this month in Warsaw, Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and Mideast adviser, said that the administration will unveil its much-vaunted Middle East peace plan after the April 9 Israeli elections. The plan will have an uphill climb, to say the least.  Palestinian leaders have already rejected the forthcoming plan in light of the administration’s relocation of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and its withdrawal of millions of dollars of aid to the Palestinians. Moreover, a joint 2018 poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) based in Ramallah and the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research (TSC) based in Tel Aviv found that support for a two-state solution – still the most preferred option – has steadily fallen to its lowest levels in more than a decade (49% among Israelis, 43% among Palestinians). One troubling finding is that those between the ages of 18-24 are the least supportive.  At the same time, the 2018 Chicago Council Survey finds that American public support for an “independent Palestinian state” on the West Bank and Gaza strip is at its highest level yet (49%), with strongest support among self-described Democrats (62%, 46% Independents, 36% Republicans).

Khalil Shikaki and Dahlia Scheindlin, the authors of the joint survey report, offer three explanations for the decline in support:  a lack of trust that the other side is sincere about efforts to reach a peace agreement, skepticism that a two-state solution is viable, and the significant opposition among highly ideological “national-religious and Haredi Israelis and the Palestinian Islamists.” The authors conclude that the perceived lack of feasibility is the most critical factor. Israelis sense that the status quo is good enough, and Palestinians sense that “settlement spread has gone too far” and have lost hope since they feel abandoned by the US as a negotiator.  

Given the direction the Trump administration has moved US policy on Israel thus far, and Palestinians' sense that the US is a biased party, the outlook for the forthcoming plan seems pretty bleak.

For more details see the polling by PCPSR and TSC and An Najah University.

 

About

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs highlights critical shifts in American public thinking on US foreign policy through public opinion surveys and research conducted under the Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy. 

The annual Chicago Council Survey, first conducted in 1974, is a valuable resource for policymakers, academics, media, and the general public. The Council also surveys American leaders in government, business, academia, think tanks, and religious organizations biennially to compare trends in their thinking with overall trends. And collaborating with partner organizations, the survey team periodically conducts parallel surveys of public opinion in other regions of the world to compare with US public opinion. 

The Running Numbers blog features regular commentary and analysis from the Council’s public opinion and US foreign policy research team, including a series of flash polls of a select group of foreign policy experts to assess their opinions on critical foreign policy topics driving the news.

Archive

| By Bettina Hammer

Peace to Prosperity Misses the Mark with Palestinians

At the June 25-26 Bahrain Peace to Prosperity Workshop, Jared Kushner presented the first component of a U.S. peace plan for the Middle East and emphasized the U.S. commitment to the Palestinian people. The stated  goal of the Peace to Prosperity plan is “to empower the Palestinian people to build a better future for themselves and their children.” But how does this plan sit with the Palestinian public?



| By Dina Smeltz, Brendan Helm

Scholars vs the Public: Collapse of the INF Treaty

In early February 2019, the United States withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty following President Trump’s October 2018 (and the Obama administration’s July 2014) accusations that Russia was failing to comply with the treaty. Russia withdrew from the treaty the next day.

Findings from a February 2019 Chicago Council on Global Affairs general public survey and a December 2018 Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) survey of International Relations (IR) scholars around the world illustrate how these different populations perceive the collapse of the INF Treaty.



| By Craig Kafura

Expert Panel Survey: US Focus on the Denuclearization of North Korea

Despite expectations for the meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, their recent summit in Hanoi ended with no agreement toward denuclearization. With that in mind, we asked our panel of foreign policy experts whether the United States should continue to focus primarily on denuclearization, or shift to arms control and non-proliferation.



| By Dina Smeltz

Opinion Landscape Not Ideal for New Mideast Peace Plan

At a Middle East conference this month in Warsaw, Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and Mideast adviser, said that the administration will unveil its much-vaunted Middle East peace plan after the April 9 Israeli elections.


| By Karl Friedhoff

America the Dangerous

The Trump administration has taken a hard line on China, but has failed to convince the American public or many allies to follow suit. Instead, publics around the world now see the United States as a major threat.






| By Craig Kafura

2018: Year in Chicago Council Surveys

It's been a busy, eventful year around the world. Throughout 2018, the Council's polling team has captured public and opinion leader attitudes on some of the most pressing foreign policy issues, including US-Russia relations, American views of China, public support for internationalism and trade, and how the rising generation of Millennials think about American foreign policy.


| By Karl Friedhoff

Confidence in Congress Low

As the House becomes majority Democrat, there is low confidence among the American public for Congress--and several other institutions--to shape policies that benefit the United States.