The annexation of portions of the West Bank within the context of US President Donald Trump's peace plan does not have the support of the majority of Israelis, according to a new poll by the Israel Democracy Institute.
The poll found that only 44.7% would support such an annexation plan and that even fewer Israelis, 31.8%, believed that such sovereignty would be applied in the coming year.
Out of those surveyed, a majority of Israeli-Jews (51.7%) and 8.8% of Israeli-Arabs supported annexation. In contrast, 27.9% of Israeli-Jews and 51.9% of Israel-Arabs opposed annexation.
But the question appeared to link annexation with the Trump peace plan, which would allow Israel to apply sovereignty to 30% percent of the West Bank, within Area C. All West Bank settlements would be included in that sovereignty plan.
The question stated: “The coalition agreement signed between the Likud and Blue and White says that after a discussion between [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and [Blue and White head Benny] Gantz, a plan coordinated with the United States for applying sovereignty to parts of the West Bank/Judea and Samaria will be brought for the government’s and the Knesset’s approval. Do you support or oppose such an application of sovereignty in the near future?”
Only a quarter of those surveyed (24.6%) held that Israeli citizenship should be granted to Palestinians residing in that West Bank territory once it is part of sovereign Israel. Another 20.5% felt that those Palestinians should be granted residency status, in which they would not be able to vote in general elections for the Knesset. Some 32% said that Palestinians should not have any more status than they have today, when they are living under IDF military rule. The responses differed widely between Israeli Jews and Arabs. Out of the Israeli Jews, some 20.2% wanted to give Palestinians full citizenship, 23.7% preferred residency and 36.6% wanted to simply offer them the same status they have today. With the Israeli-Arab respondents, 47% wanted the Palestinians to have citizenship, 4.5% wanted to offer residency status, and another 9.3% felt that the current status should remain.
The internet and telephone survey by the Midgam Institute of 769 men and women aged 18 and older was conducted from April 30 to May 3 of this year. Some 154 of the participants were interviewed in Arabic and the rest in Hebrew. The margin of error is 3.7%.
The survey was completed as part of the Israeli Voice Index, which is part of the Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research of the Israel Democracy Institute.
The results among Israeli Jews differed from an internet poll done on the Midgam platform for the group Commanders for Israel’s security, a group of former Israeli security officials opposed to Israeli plans to annex West Bank settlements.
It found that only 26% of Israeli Jews would support annexation. But the question was a global one and did not differentiate between a partial and full annexation of the West Bank.
In March, a majority of the Israelis who went to the polls voted for Jewish parties and politicians that supported some form of annexation. At present it’s estimated that a Knesset bill on the annexation of West Bank settlements would receive the support of 68 out of 120 parliamentarians, effectively 56% of the Knesset.
The Israel Democracy Institute poll also explored other issues relating to security, democracy and politics.
Israelis were split on the question of Israel’s future as a democracy, with 45.5% stating that they were optimistic and 44.6% expressing pessimism. More Israeli Jews (49.2%) than Israeli-Arabs (26.4%), were optimistic about Israeli democracy. Similarly, in reverse, more Israeli-Arabs (51.9%) were pessimistic, compared to 43.2% of Israeli Jews who were concerned about Israeli democracy.
Most Israelis (70%) were optimistic about Israeli security in the foreseeable future.
A majority of Israelis (56.8%) said they preferred the formation of the government now in its current form, led by Netanyahu of the Likud together with Gantz. But Israeli-Jews were the dominant force in that response, with 63.2% of them wanting to move forward with this government, while 46.8% of the Israeli-Arabs said they preferred to head to another round of elections.
The poll confirmed that Netanyahu’s Likud party is still the most popular political party in Israel, garnering support from 23.8% of the participants. After that, the second most popular party was the Joint List at 10.8%, Blue and White at 9.2%, Yesh Atid-Telem at 8.1%, Yamina at 7.9%, Yisrael Beytenu at 6.4% United Torah Judaism at 5.4% and Shas at 4.2%. The Meretz Party was more popular at 4.3% than the Labor party, which garnered support from only 3.6% of the participants.
In spite of the poll’s support for the current government, some 51.2% of respondents said they expected a wave of public protests against the government similar to the social protests that occurred against the government in the summer of 2011.