Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not be able to withstand pressure from US President Donald Trump to accept critical changes in Trump’s Middle East plan, a majority of residents of Judea and Samaria said, according to a new poll published on Monday.
The comprehensive poll of 1,182 respondents representing a statistical sample of the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria was taken between June 4-7 and had a margin of error of 2.4%. The poll was taken for the right-wing, pro-settler organization Regavim by Direct Polls, which is owned by Shlomo Filber, a former Netanyahu confidant who is currently a state’s witness against him in his criminal cases.
Only 27% of the respondents said they believed Netanyahu would stand his ground, even at the cost of his relationship with Trump, while 53% said he would fold. The rest declined to respond or did not know, which was true of all those who did not choose one of the answers in questions whose answers did not add up to 100%.
Sixty-three percent said the relationship between Netanyahu and Trump would lead to a better agreement and 16% to a worse agreement. When asked if the settler movement could trust Netanyahu, 48% said no and 36% said yes. Asked if they could trust Trump, 44% said no and 35% said yes.
The current alternatives to Netanyahu and Trump, Blue and White and presumptive Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden, were trusted far less by the respondents and concern that Biden could win the November 3 US election was a factor that made them more likely to support Trump’s plan.
Asked if they support the plan based on what they knew of it, 56% said yes and 37% said no. But when told the plan calls for agreeing to a future Palestinian state in return for immediate sovereignty over settlements, 60% opposed it and 37% were in favor.
When asked how they characterize the plan, 35% said “Good but not perfect,” 20% called it “the best possible plan we could reach,” 28% “bad and must be opposed” and nine percent said “bad but tolerable.”
The leading reason for supporting the plan was the recognition of the settlements as an intrinsic part of Israel (51%) followed by a change in the perception of the settlements by the public (18%), American recognition of sovereignty (16%), setting the bar unrealistically high for the establishment of a Palestinian state (9%) and that no settlement would be evacuated as part of the plan (7%).
The reasons for opposing it were the establishment of a Palestinian state (27%), relinquishing rights to part of the land of Israel (22%), leaving certain settlements as enclaves in Palestinian territory (19%), ceding control of major roads to the Palestinians (11%), the prospect of granting citizenship to Palestinian (9%) and the threat that the US will not keep its commitments (6%).
The poll asked respondents what is more important: Retaining control over a large percentage of land or retaining control over all settlements. Fifty-one percent preferred the former and 36% the latter.
Unlike the rest of the population that has consistently said that dealing with the economic ramifications of the coronavirus crisis should be the government’s top priority, among the settlers, 25% said sovereignty should top the agenda, 24% said limiting the Supreme Court’s power, 22% said the fight against COVID-19 and nine percent said helping small and medium sized businesses.