Survey: More E. Jerusalem Palestinians prefer Israeli citizenship


JERUSALEM (JTA) — More Palestinian Arabs living in eastern Jerusalem would prefer to retain their Israeli citizenship after a two-state solution is reached than live in Palestine, a new study found.

Some 35 percent of Palestinian Arabs surveyed chose Israeli citizenship, 30 percent chose Palestinian citizenship and 35 percent declined to answer when asked their preferences for citizenship after a two-state solution is reached, according to a newly released survey conducted by Pechter Middle East Polls in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations.

Some 40 percent of respondents said they would move to a different home inside Israel if their neighborhood became part of Palestine, while 27 percent said they would move to Palestine if their neighborhood became part of Israel.

Those who chose Israeli citizenship most often mentioned freedom of movement in Israel, higher income and better job opportunities, and Israeli health insurance as their reasons. Those who chose Palestinian citizenship overwhelmingly cited nationalism/patriotism as their primary motivation.

Asked about a number of possible concerns about being part of Palestine or of Israel, the major concern on both sides was the possibility of losing access to the Al Aksa Mosque and the Old City, since the placement of a border remains uncertain.

The other leading concerns about becoming part of Palestine focused on issues such as losing access to jobs and free movement in Israel, and losing Israeli government-provided health care, unemployment and disability benefits, and city services. The leading concerns about becoming part of Israel focused on possible discrimination, losing access to land, relatives and friends in Palestine, and possible moral misconduct of their children.

Nearly half of the respondents said they believed that some Palestinian groups would continue the armed struggle even if there were a final peace agreement, and 63.5 percent said a new intifada is likely or somewhat likely if peace efforts collapse.

More than 1,000 Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem were surveyed last November by a West Bank-based Palestinian polling firm, the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion. The survey has a margin of error of 3 percent.

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