Tel Aviv protest 311.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Most Israelis – 57.5 percent – think that US President Barack Obama favors the
Palestinians, and a fifth of Jewish Israelis have participated or plan to
participate in protests to free captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, according to
the July Peace Index released Wednesday by the Israel Democracy Institute and
Tel Aviv University.
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This month’s index also revealed that a slim
majority, 52%, of the Israeli public favors renewed construction in the West
Bank after the settlement freeze ends in September, claiming that “continuing
the freeze means capitulation to the Americans and the
Conversely, 41.5% say the freeze should continue, in order
to “help advance the negotiations with the Palestinians and improve Israel’s
image in the international community.”
Meretz (88.2%), Labor (62.5%) and
Kadima (60.2%) voters favor continuing the freeze, while Shas (81.2%), Yisrael
Beiteinu (73.8%) and United Torah Judaism (67.8%) want to end it.
71.5% of Israeli Jews support holding talks with the Palestinians, but only
32.3% believe they will lead to peace.
High support for talks along with
pessimism about their outcome has characterized public opinion since the signing
of the Oslo Accords in 1993, note researchers Prof. Ephraim Yaar and Prof. Tamar
Most Israelis – 62% – support direct dialogue, with only 14%
supporting the proximity talks mediated by US envoy to the Middle East George
Over 42% view Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s policies
towards the Palestinians as balanced, with most of the rest divided
seeing them as too yielding (29%) or too tough (17%).
involvement in “free Schalit” activism may be a world record for “public
participation in civil protest,” note the researchers, the public is
almost evenly about whether the Schalit family should “intensify its
measures,” with 48.5% in favor of intensification, and 43% against
The Peace Index project, which issues reports almost every month, is
conducted under the auspices of the Evens Program for Conflict
Resolution at Tel
Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute. This most recent
some 600 Israelis, representing a cross-section of the population, was
out by telephone on July 6-7 by the Dahaf Institute. The margin of error