50% say Rabin was right on Oslo

Poll suggests that Rabin would not have completed the peace process with Arafat.

rabin peres nobel 298.88 (photo credit: GPO)
rabin peres nobel 298.88
(photo credit: GPO)
Despite widespread disappointment with Oslo, the prevailing view today is that Yitzhak Rabin's decision to enter the process was correct, finds a new poll published by By Professors Ephraim Yaar and Prof. Tamar Hermann of Tel Aviv University. Those surveyed also believe that the decision was his, and not coerced by others or by political circumstances. These were the primary conclusions of the Peace Index survey for October 2005. The project is conducted monthly at the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Studies and the Evans Program for Conflict Resolution Research of Tel Aviv University. "At the same time," the researchers stipulate, "It is generally believed that, even if he had not been assassinated and had continued to serve as prime minister, the process Rabin began would not have brought a peace agreement with the Palestinians to this day. In assessing the quality of Rabin's leadership, "the prevailing view in the Jewish public is that he was a moderately good leader." The poll also tried to predict the slain prime minister's future legacy. When asked whom, in another 50 years, would be considered "the best prime minister Israel has had until then," Rabin came in third, behind David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin, and only slightly ahead of Ariel Sharon. The study reports a generally pessimistic view of the conflict, arguing that, "an overwhelming majority of the Jewish public believes that, even if Israel evacuates all the territories beyond the Green Line and the occupation ends, Palestinian violence will not stop and may even intensify." Still, most do not fault Rabin for engaging with the Palestinians at Olso, and half of the population believes that, in retrospect, the decision to enter the process was the right one. According to the poll, "Half the respondents assessed the decision as right, 39 percent as errant, and the rest did not know." This response was significantly tied to the interviewee's level of religiosity: "Whereas 62% of the secular approve of the decision and 26% view it as mistaken, over 70% of the religious and ultra-Orthodox criticize it and only a small minority approves." In the Arab sector, the view was much more positive, with 85% in favor and only 10% against. A majority of Israelis believe that Abu Mazen would prevent terror attacks if he were able, while 70% believe that Sharon was right to shun him in light of the |worsening situation." Moreover, 60% think that joining the political process would not moderate its opposition to Israel nor its policies of terror. Still, the public's views were divided on whether, if Hamas were to join the government, Israel should negotiate with the PA, "with 46% affirmative and 43% negative."