Poll: Most Israelis want peace talks, but are skeptical

Over half of Israelis (52.4%) disagreed with maintaining status quo with the Palestinians.

February 2, 2016 14:46
2 minute read.
A jewish man passes a banner which reads ‘Peace Now’ during a pro-Israel demonstration

A jewish man passes a banner which reads ‘Peace Now’ during a pro-Israel demonstration held in Amsterdam several years ago.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Most Israelis support negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, including a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas, but are skeptical such talks will yield any results, according to the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University’s monthly Peace Index poll, released on Tuesday.

When asked for their stance about peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, 61.8 percent said they were in favor to some degree, while 32.8% were opposed to some degree. Israeli Arabs are far more likely to support talks, with 59.6% very much in favor and 27.1% somewhat, while among Israeli Jews, 26.3% were very supportive and 30.6% somewhat.

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As for a meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas, 69.8% would support such a step while 26.8% were opposed. Only 30.9% of Israelis believed Abbas’ recent comment to Israeli reporters that he has made it clear he was interesting in meeting with Netanyahu, but has never received an answer.

Despite their support for talks, most Israelis (67.7%) do not believe that negotiations will bring peace in the coming years and less than a third (29.1%) think it will ever yield such a result.

Over half of Israelis (52.4%) disagreed with maintaining the status quo with the Palestinians, while 41.5% said the conflict can be maintained for many more years without doing any harm to Israel’s security or existence.

Jewish Israelis were almost evenly split on whether or not Israel should annex all territory captured in the Six Day War, with 45.3% supporting such a move and 44.8% opposing it.

Israelis were also almost evenly split in their assessment of recent comments by US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro that Israel has a double standard for Israelis and Palestinians when it comes to law enforcement in the West Bank.

The poll showed 45.7% agreeing and 46.4% disagreeing with Shapiro’s remark.

In addition, 45.7% said such a double standard would not be justified were it to exist, while 44.9 % thought it would be justified.

Few of the Israelis polled (16.4%) thought it likely that Israel would change its policies in light of the comment; most (73.6%) thought the chances that the situation will change was low.

The vast majority of Israelis (74.2%) do not think, with varying degrees of certainty, that the international community’s criticism of Israeli policies in the West Bank takes Israeli and Palestinian interests into consideration equally; only 18.4% thought otherwise. Despite that, 43.8% said Israel should take the world’s criticism seriously, but 49.6% said the opposite.

Most Israelis do not support recent statements by opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) that he wants to separate Israel from as many Palestinians as possible as soon as possible, by building a wall between Jerusalem and Palestinian villages. The findings showed 41.5% agreed to some degree, while 52.3% disagreed.

More Israelis agreed to some degree (50.8%) than disagreed (43.4%) with Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s criticism of the prime minister and defense minister, that they are not fighting terrorism aggressively or effectively enough.

The Peace Index poll was conducted on January 26-28 among a representative sample of 600 Israeli adults; it has a margin of error of 4.1%.

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