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Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 2:43 a.m.
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Poll: Israelis, Palestinians back two-state deal

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 1, 2014 at 10:33 a.m.

RAMALLAH, West Bank — A poll suggests majorities of both Israelis and Palestinians support the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, but remain suspicious of the other side.

The survey was released Wednesday, hours before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's return to the region. Kerry is trying to forge agreement on the outlines of a peace deal, but gaps remain.

In the poll, 63 percent of Israeli respondents and 53 percent of Palestinians said they back a two-state solution. Support dropped to 54 percent and 46 percent, respectively, when respondents were asked about specifics such as the status of Jerusalem and Jewish settlements.

The Israeli poll, conducted by the Hebrew University, questioned 601 people and had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points. The Palestinian survey, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, questioned 1,270 Palestinians and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

The Palestinians seek the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, areas captured by Israel in 1967, for their state.

Ahead of Kerry's visit, the sides have been squabbling over the Jordan Valley, a strategic part of the West Bank along the border with neighboring Jordan. Israel wants to retain a security presence in the Jordan Valley even after a peace deal is reached. The Palestinians reject any Israeli presence in their state.

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