Israeli occupation is ‘a one-state reality bordering on apartheid’, say 60% of academics – Middle East Monitor

Sixty percent of Middle Eastern studies scholars and scholars at several US universities have described Israel’s occupation of Palestine as “a one-state reality bordering on apartheid”, according to a new survey.

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

Pessimism about the two-state solution continues to grow, with 61% no longer believing it’s possible, up from 52% in February 2021 and 57% in September 2021, when the previous two rounds of the survey had been carried out.

At the same time, 60% describe the current reality as that of “an apartheid-like state”. This is slightly higher than the February 2021 poll (59%) and lower than the September 2021 poll (65%). According to the survey’s producers, the spike in the September poll may be due to the high-profile Human Rights Watch report calling Israeli practices “apartheid” and the May 2021 war in Gaza.

READ: PA calls for ‘sanctions’ against apartheid State of Israel

About 29 percent described Israel’s relationship with its non-Jewish citizens, inside what is called Israel proper, as “a state close to apartheid.”

US President Joe Biden’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian question received the most negative ratings: only 7% view his policies favorably.

On broader issues related to the Middle East, 58% of respondents believed the Ukraine crisis would weaken Russia’s position in the region, and only 33% expected the Russian invasion to strengthen its regional position.

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

China is seen as a clear beneficiary of the conflict, with 63% of respondents saying the crises would strengthen its position in the region.

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

Qatar’s position has been greatly strengthened. Fifty percent say the crisis is strengthening its alliance with the United States, and only ten percent say it is weakening it. Turkey is also expected to gain a net benefit, with 61% saying the current crisis is strengthening Ankara’s position and only 15% saying it is weakening the alliance with the United States.

On the other hand, 36% expected the Ukraine crisis to weaken relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. No dramatic change is expected in US relations with Israel.

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Michael A. Bynum