While Palestinian public opinion is often included in discussions of Israel, Palestine and the Middle East, rarely is it actually quantified. This is too bad, since there are public opinion polls in Palestine (including Gaza), and because American discussion of the region tends to be extremely abstract, airy, and quasi-mythological. Any stateside discussion of "what needs to happen" in Israel and Palestine should include references to public opinion in the region. After all, Israel / Palestine is not an American mandate, and our goal should be to continually facilitate a discussion toward a path to a permanent peace agreement supported by the majority of both Israelis and Palestinians. We have no business dictating terms, such as, for example, how Jerusalem should be administered, if there should be land swaps, or whether or not to waive the right of return.
Palestinian public opinion is in opposition to most of the ideas routinely discussed as part of the path to peace:
East Jerusalem: Living quarters inhabited by Arabs in East Jerusalem should be put under the Palestinian jurisdiction, the Jewish quarters to be annexed to Israel. Would you support or oppose this?: Support 41%--53% Oppose
Jordan Valley: The Israeli settlements in Jordan Valley would be dismantled, but the Israeli army would remain in the Jordan Valley area for the period of five years, after which- should calm reigns over the said region during this period- the Israeli forces would be replaced by international forces. Would you support or oppose this? Support 31%--59% Oppose
Right of Return: Presuming that the Palestinian State would take up the Palestinian refugees. Israel, with other countries, would establish an international fund for the compensation of those refugees, who want to return under the Palestinian jurisdiction and can't return to their original homeland in Israel. Would you support or oppose such a settlement of the Palestinian refugees problem? Support 24%--68% Oppose
Land Swap: Israel would keep 4 % of the West Bank and Gaza Strip area, which contains 80% of the Israeli settlements. As an exchange for that, Israel would offer the Palestinians 2% of its land adjacent to Gaza Strip. Would you support or oppose this deal? Support 21%--72% Oppose
Old City of Jerusalem: Upon dividing the Old City of Jerusalem between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel would keep the "Wailing Wall" (Western Wall), the Jewish and the Armenian quarters. A special arrangement would be made for the area of the Temple Mount (area of Al-Aqsa Mosque). Would you support or oppose this? Support 19%--73% Oppose
Given that Palestinian public opinion is opposed to peace agreements that include these provisions, even if a peace treaty was signed then either the existing Palestinian government would be dumped in the next round of elections in favor of a government that would oppose the treaty, or anti-democratic measures would have to be taken in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by the Palestinian Authority in order to keep the pro=peace government in power. Either path makes any peace treaty a moot point, as it would lead to continued, populist armed resistance and, thus, no peace.
This isn't going to end until there is an agreement that the majority of the populations on both sides accept. Right now, no such agreement exists, even hypothetically. Until public opinion changes, I don't expect the political and military conditions in the region will improve much, either. Bombing doesn't help, but there wouldn't be a solution for a long time, even if the attacks stopped tomorrow.