While most of those surveyed believed their leaders showed too much willingness to compromise, the pollsters who directed the joint study said both sides were surprisingly willing to consider proposals that were once taboo.
The survey was conducted by the Hebrew University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.
Last month Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat spent two weeks at the presidential retreat of Camp David outside Washington, trying to hammer out a framework for a peace treaty. Despite personal involvement by U.S. President Bill Clinton, they did not emerge with an accord.
Though neither side has released official statements about its positions, media reports said Barak was prepared to give the Palestinians control over Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, while the Arafat was willing to consider letting Israel keep some West Bank territory. Both positions run counter to previous policy.
A survey of 525 Israelis showed that 57% believed Barak offered too much to Palestinian negotiators. From a sample of 1,295 Palestinians interviewed in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, more than half said Yasser Arafat was also too forthcoming on specific issues, though 68% were pleased with his overall stand.
The Israeli poll quoted a 4.5% margin of error, while the Palestinian survey was said to be accurate to within 3%.
Yaacov Shamir, who supervised the Israeli poll, was pleased with the results, because the negotiators were tackling the touchiest issues--Jerusalem, Israeli settlements and Palestinian refugees--for the first time. He said most of the proposals received approval ratings as high as 40%.
Khalil Shikaki, who directed the Palestinian interviews, was surprised by what he said were revolutionary strides made in Palestinian perceptions of social relations with Israelis.
The poll showed 31% supported joint political institutions leading to an Israeli-Palestinian confederation. "This is tremendous, I never believed it would reach higher than 10 percent," said Shikaki.
The survey revealed that while 75% of Palestinians "strongly support" reconciliation between the two peoples, support for violence against Israel has reached its highest point since 1994, with 60% in favor.
"Palestinians and Israelis are at a crossroads," said Shikaki. "The results indicate a positive change if the process moves forward but a hardening of positions if things fail," he said.