President Jimmy Carter shakes hands with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty on the grounds of the White House, March 26, 1979.
(photo credit: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/WARREN K. LEFFLER/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Support remains high for Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt, almost 40 years after it was signed on March 26, 1979, according to a new poll by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Truman Research Institute.
An Internet poll conducted among 400 Jewish Israelis and 100 Arab Israelis found that 82% of respondents held that the peace treaty was essential for Israel’s security.
Some 56% said the return of the Sinai Desert to Egypt as part of that agreement was not a mistake. Another 30% said it was a mistake, and 14% said they did not know.
Some 65% said they would not trust Egyptian security forces on the other side of the border to protect Israel from a terrorist attack.
But a majority of Israelis, 71%, said they trusted Egypt to be a broker to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israeli support for the deal did not include an understanding that Egypt was Israel’s friend, or that the two countries enjoyed a warm peace. Some 66% of those polled said they believed it was a cold peace, and 64% said that Egypt was neither Israel’s friend nor foe.
A majority of Israelis, 54%, said they did not believe the situation would improve in the future. Some 12% said they thought ties would strengthen, 15% thought relations would weak, and 5% believed the deal would fall apart.
Only 16% of those polled had visited Egypt, and only 22% said they wanted to go. The majority, 64%, said they had not gone and were not interested in going.
The Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace released the poll on Sunday, in advance of a conference it plans to hold Monday on the Israeli-Egyptian peace deal. The conference will include a pre-recorded video interview with former US president Jimmy Carter, who signed the deal, and a speech by former US ambassador Dennis Ross.
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