Middle East

Israel’s occupation is ‘a one state reality akin to apartheid,’ say 60% of academics

Sixty per cent of academics and scholars in Middle Eastern studies across several American universities have described Israel’s occupation of Palestine as “a one state reality akin to apartheid,” a new survey shows.

Conducted by a joint initiative of the University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll and the Project on Middle East Political Science at George Washington University, the survey was distributed to 1,729 recipients, and asked the academics on a wide range of issues, in particular the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its wider ramification on the Middle East.

Pessimism over the two-state solution continues to grow with 61 per cent no longer believing that it is possible compared with 52 per cent in February 2021 and 57 per cent in September 2021, when two previous rounds of the survey were conducted.

At the same time, 60 per cent describe the current reality as that of “one state akin to apartheid.” That’s slightly higher than the February 2021 poll (59 per cent) and lower than the September 2021 poll (65 per cent). According to the producers of the survey the spike in the September poll may have been due to the highly publicised Human Rights Watch report labelling Israeli practices as “apartheid” and the May 2021 Gaza war.

READ: PA calls for ‘sanctions’ on apartheid state of Israel

Some 29 per cent described Israel’s relationship with its non-Jewish citizens, inside what is referred to as Israel proper, as “a state akin to apartheid.”

US President Joe Biden’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian issue received the most negative grades: only seven per cent view his policies favourably.

On wider issues related to the Middle East, 58 per cent of respondents thought that the Ukraine crisis would weaken Russia’s standing in the region, with only 33 per cent expecting that Russia’s invasion would strengthen its regional position.

Amnesty labels Israel an apartheid state – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

China is seen as a clear beneficiary of the conflict with 63 per cent saying that the crises would strengthen its position in the region.

On the question of US relations with key Middle Eastern states, there are clear winners and losers from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Qatar’s position has been greatly enhanced. Fifty per cent say the crisis strengthens its alliance with the US, and only ten per cent say it weakens it. Turkey is also expected to see net benefit with 61 per cent saying the current crisis strengthens Ankara’s position and only 15 per cent saying it weakens the alliance with the US.

On the other hand, 36 per cent expected the Ukraine crisis to weaken relations between the US and both Saudi Arabia and the UAE. No dramatic changes are expected with US relations with Israel.

OPINION: It’s no surprise that Israel has boosted its arms sales thanks to the war in Ukraine

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