Since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas proposed a referendum to the Palestinian people on the two-state solution (a plan that was reportedly cooked-up by Marwan Barghouti and other prisoners in an Israeli prison) it has been roundly condemned by Jews and Muslims alike in the media.
The Pro-Israel camp (especially publications like the New York Post that supports the far-right position in Israel) has criticized the plan because they say it does not specifically mention Israel, it is a ploy by Abbas, and it only refers to the 1967 borders as being the lines for a new state. These are the same people that at one time loudly opposed the legalization of the display of the Palestinian flag and the like. This is no surprise since every poll shows that the American-Jewish community is to the right of Israel Jewish opinion by far and perhaps this has something to do with the fact that hey are living in comfort in America while the people in Israel have to live and die with the situation on a daily basis and need to come up with practical solutions to problems.
For the Pro-Israel right, who do not recognize that a Palestinian people exists (even if you go to Israel and all the Jews call their neighbors Palestinians and Lebanon never existed as a state before the 20th Century either); they demand that not only all Palestinian parties recognize Israel, but they also not call for the exact same thing that international law calls for and that is for Israel’s return of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. It is also on the issue of Jerusalem that the mainstream of Israeli opinion sides with the right and does not want to return any part of Jerusalem to Arabs. The solution that most in Kadima and Labor has is for the future Palestinian capitol to be in Abu Dis, which is a suburb of Jerusalem. On the issue of Gaza, Israel has already returned most of Gaza to the Palestinians (issues of the port and airport have to be resolved) and it is in the West Bank that you will find Israeli opinion all over the map.
Many Israelis you talk to hate the settlers in the West Bank and this includes many in the Israeli military. They view the settlers as extremists who are being subsidized by the state while not serving in the military and do not want to fight and die for them. Others in Israel, who may not have any particularly love for the West Bank and its Jews, view it as a sign of strength for Israel not to relinquish the settlements; but will accept that some of them be bargained away. The secular and religious nationalists are the ones who view the West Bank as Judea and Samaria and refuse to give any ground and have openly said they would go to war with the Israeli state if they are forced to leave. Having been to the settlements and talked to many of these settlers I believe them when they say this. In conversations with me many openly spoke of their love for Yigal Amir, the assassin of Yitzhak Rabin, and of their love of Baruch Goldstein. It is important to note that many of these extremists, in some settlements most, are from America and in particular from the New York area. They raise money in America and travel back and forth to carry out their extremist activities and you don’t hear a peep from the US government.
On the Muslim side of the equation you have many who are living in some kind of a fantasy world where they can wish Israel away. This seems very odd given the fact that Israel can annihilate the entire Arab World in one day with its nuclear weapons and in about a month with conventional-weapons. For you American-Muslims who haven’t noticed or have been busy absorbing propaganda; this is about Arab pride. Their pride is hurt that Israel is a success and functions well while they are in a failed state. They are told tales of Salahudin and Umar (ra) but see that all of the armies of the Arab Nation are impotent when they stand next to Israel.
If one spends time in the region you will know that Israel’s superiority has nothing to do with American aid or anything else it simply is a product of a functional culture and a functional state that has a lot of problems (from Russian organized crime and Russian prostitution to corruption in the government to religious extremism); but the problems are not so severe that they disable the state. The Palestinians on the other hand are suffering; but when I go across the border to Jordan or Syria they aren’t living any better. Who is occupying them?
A referendum put towards the Palestinian people on the two-state solution would pass in my opinion out of necessity. The majority on both sides now realize this and it is the only workable solution. It would force the elected Hamas government to recognize Israel without doing so and would relieve a big burden for them and it would allow money to be freed to the Palestinian people from the international community. This would be a good thing for all sides.
What is the alternative? A one state solution promoted by the Left where Jews and Arabs are sitting around the fire singing together all in love? A Greater Israel where all gentiles are second-class citizens? An Arab or Islamic State that expels all the Jews one way or the other?