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Poll: 71.5% Israelis favor peace talks
By LAHAV HARKOV
07/21/2010
Annual Peace Index shows 42.5% think Obama is pro-Palestinian.
 
The Israeli Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University released the 2010 Peace Index on Wednesday, revealing Israelis' positions on peace talks, captive soldier Gilad Schalit, US President Barack Obama and other current events and issues.

Nearly three-quarters of the Israeli Jewish public supports holding talks with the Palestinians, but only 32.4 percent 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. Most Israelis - 62% - support direct dialogue, with only 14% supporting proximity talks mediated by US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell.

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Most Israelis think that Obama favors the Palestinians, and 42.5% view Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's policies towards the Palestinians as balanced.

One-fifth of Jewish Israelis had participated or intended to participate in protest activities to free Gilad Schalit. This is an unprecendented rate in Israel, and researchers Prof. Ephraim Yaar and Prof. Tamar Hermann posit that this may be a world record for "public participation in civil protest." However, the public is split almost evenly about whether the Schalit family should "intensify its protest measures," with 48.5% in favor of intensification, and 43% against it.

Over half 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 Palestinians." 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.

The Peace Index project is conducted under the auspices of the Evens Program for Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute.
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