'Israeli Jews favor outpost evacuation'

Study finds 75% back dismantlement, 57% approve use of force, but most support settlement expansion.

migron outpost 248.88 ap (photo credit: AP)
migron outpost 248.88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
Seventy-five percent of Israeli Jews support the evacuation of unauthorized West Bank outposts, with 57% saying they would back the use of force in such operations, according to a study released on Sunday. Eighteen percent of respondents said they would support the government on the issue only if the evacuations come following an agreement with the settlers. Just 25% said that they opposed any removal of outposts. The Public Opinion Survey on National Security Issues was conducted by the Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies during the first three weeks of May. The poll also found that 58% of Israeli Jews back the continued expansion of West Bank settlements. However, only 17% support further growth over the Green Line if it "will result in a confrontation with the United States." Forty-two percent of the public oppose all construction in settlements. The survey found that Jewish backing for a Palestinian state has been steadily declining since it peaked at 60% in 2006. This year's survey found that 53% of Jewish Israelis accept the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The survey drew a distinction between a solution based on a "Palestinian state" and one based on "two states for two peoples." Support for the "two states for two peoples" formula has been consistently above 60% over the past few years, with 64% backing it in the current study. The concept of a "Palestinian state" still frightens parts of the public, while the "two states for two peoples" formula is accepted by a clear majority of Israeli Jews as the only realistic solution, the researchers said. According to the survey, Israelis oppose a return to the pre-1967 borders and the evacuation of all West Bank settlements. The study found that only 15% were willing to entertain the possibility of a full pullout, up from 14% in 2007. Some 43% would accept the evacuation of "small and isolated settlements" in return for peace, as opposed to 45% two years ago. The survey also gauged the public's stance regarding engagement with Hamas. Only 18% of the respondents expressed support for dialogue - direct and indirect - with the Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip. All in all, 72% support continued military pressure on Hamas, including 33% who favor toppling the Hamas government, "even by occupying the entire Gaza Strip." The remaining 10% support the continuation of the blockade on the Strip. Regarding the nuclear threat from Teheran, 59% of Jewish Israelis support a military strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities if Israel were to determine that the Islamic republic has obtained nuclear weapons. Forty-one percent, on the other hand, said "Israel should use all the diplomatic means available to dismantle Iran's nuclear capability but avoid a military attack." Still, only 21% said that they believed that Iran would "attack Israel with nuclear weapons with the goal of Israel's destruction," and only 3% said that they would leave the country if Teheran obtained such a capability. Eight percent said they would "consider" emigrating if faced by a concrete nuclear threat from Iran. The study also found that Israelis are broadly opposed to a withdrawal from the Golan Heights in exchange for peace with Syria, with only 3% of respondents in favor of ceding the entire territory. A majority, 60%, oppose any withdrawal from the plateau, and 20% are "willing to return the Golan to Syrian sovereignty but leave the Israeli settlements on the Golan."