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Jerusalem’s Palestinians Prefer Israeli Citizenship

November 11, 2015

by: Ilse Posselt, Bridges for Peace

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Israel is no stranger to being fingered as the world’s arch human rights villain. Yet despite the dire picture of apartheid practices, segregation and abuse painted by news headlines and international bodies, the testimony of those living in the Jewish state speaks of a different reality.

According to a recent poll, the majority of Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents would choose Israeli citizenship over citizenship in a Palestinian state.

Conducted by the Palestine Center for Public Opinion on behalf of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Fikra Forum, the poll asked Palestinians living in Jerusalem, Judea–Samaria and Gaza about the future they wanted.

For 52% respondents from Jerusalem, the desired future included Israeli citizenship with equal rights. Only 42% of those polled in Jerusalem said they would prefer citizenship in a future Palestinian state.

The preference for Israeli citizenship amongst Jerusalem respondents revealed in this poll confirms a growing trend. In a similar poll conducted in 2010, 30% of respondents chose Israeli citizenship above Palestinian. One year later, the number had risen to 40%. This year’s poll reveals yet another increase, with the proportion exceeding the halfway mark.

Jerusalem respondents based their preference for Israeli citizenship largely on practical reasons, for instance job opportunities, income, health care and other social benefits as well as freedom of travel. Moreover, 47% of respondents said they would rather be employed in an Israeli workplace, even if that required a change in lifestyle.

Jerusalem respondents’ firsthand experience of life in Israel seems to have cultivated a more positive outlook on the future of the Jewish state. A 62% majority believes that Israel will still exist—as either a Jewish or binational state—in three or four decades. Moreover, 30% of respondents also conceded to a historic Jewish presence, including Jewish kingdoms and Temples, in Jerusalem during biblical times.

Photo Credit: K.DeGagne/bridgesforpeace.com

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