On Israel’s 70th anniversary, what does the region think?


On the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding — what Palestinians call the Nakba (or catastrophe) — hundreds are marching in mostly nonviolent protests in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem. Some are calling this “a perfect storm” that could lead to unprecedented instability.

The Palestinian cause was once the cornerstone of Arab nationalism across the region. However, recently Arab-Israeli relations seem to be shifting and enthusiasm for the Palestinian issue waning. Regimes long considered staunch adversaries of Israel have begun experimenting with opening up relations. But in these authoritarian regimes, do such policy changes reflect citizens’ attitudes?

In a recent survey, we examined Arab opinions toward Israel and the Palestinian cause. We found that, even in the most repressive states, public opinion is overwhelmingly opposed to cooperation with Israel and normalization of diplomatic relations, while the Palestinian cause remains highly salient.

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