Forty-seven percent of Egyptians believe that the islands of Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian, 11 percent believe they are Saudi Arabian, while 42 percent say they don't know, according to a new poll conducted by the independent Egyptian Centre for Public Opinion Research (Baseera).
The results reflect an apparent shift in public opinion in the past year, with more people now viewing the islands as sovereign Egyptian territory.
In April 2016, another poll conducted by Baseera revealed that 30 percent of Egyptians believed the islands to be Egyptian and 23 percent believed they were Saudi. Another 31 percent said they did not know, while 16 percent said they had never heard of the islands.
In the same month, the Egyptian government signed a border-demarcation deal with Saudi Arabia, according to which the strategic islands of Tiran and Sanafir were identified as being under Saudi control. The Egyptian government claimed that the islands had always been Saudi territory, despite Egyptian guardianship.
"Public opinion has witnessed widespread controversy concerning the islands of Tiran and Sanfir in the past few days, following parliament's decision to vote on the allocation of the Islands to Egypt or Saudi Arabia," the report reads.
Baseera said that it conducted the poll in order to help "resolve the controversy and provide both public opinion and decision makers with a recent picture of the pulse of the Egyptian street."
The poll was conducted on a sample of 1,164 citizens from all governorates, aged 18 and above. The survey was made over mobile phones and landlines on 11 and 12 June.
The agreement sparked vocal opposition in Egypt and has been the subject of ongoing legal battles, with courts issuing conflicting rulings amid disputes over which court has jurisdiction in the case.
On Sunday, parliament's Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee started to discuss the agreement and decide whether to put it up for a general vote in parliament.
According to the recent Baseera poll, 60 percent of Egyptians agree on parliament discussing the agreement.
However, 47 percent said they would not agree on the islands being passed to the control of Saudi Arabia, even if the agreement was approved by parliament.
Meanwhile, 35 percent said they would agree on transferring the islands if parliament approved the deal, while 19 percent could not be sure.
The poll also revealed that 42 percent of Egyptians said a referendum should be conducted on the issue, while 37 percent said that the parliament's decision is enough.