Poll: Most Israelis oppose Arab peace plan

Survey finds two thirds of Palestinians support Arab peace initiative; 48% of Israelis oppose land swap with PA.

peres thoughtful 248.88 (photo credit: )
peres thoughtful 248.88
(photo credit: )
Sixty-six percent of Palestinians support the Arab League initiative that calls for a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders, while only 36% of Israelis support the plan, according to a poll released on Tuesday. The survey also found that the newspapers ads the Palestinian Authority placed in Israeli papers last month in support of the Arab League plan did little to impact Israeli public opinion. Only 25% of Israelis said they saw the ads and only 14% actually read them. The survey was conducted between November 26 and December 7 by both the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Although it's been almost eight years since then-US president Bill Clinton failed to reach a peace agreement at Camp David, his plan still has the support of 52% of Israelis and 41% of Palestinians. But when it comes to the plan's division of Jerusalem, it has the support of only 40% of Israelis and 36% of Palestinians. Palestinians in particular took issue with the idea of getting a demilitarized state. Only 27% supported that idea, while 64% of Israelis favored it. When it came to peace with Syria in exchange for the Golan, 63% of Israelis opposed evacuating the Heights. At the same time, 55% of Israelis support talks with Hamas if such dialogue would help bring about a trace between Hamas and Fatah. Some 51% of Israelis support a continued cease-fire with Hamas, while 45% oppose this. Among the Palestinians, 74% support a continued cease-fire. The survey found that few Israelis - 27% - want the IDF to retake Gaza. Some 38% prefer that the government find a diplomatic solution, while 40% think Israel should carry out limited military operations against Palestinian rocket launchers. On Iran, 59% of Israelis believe that Israel should bomb the Islamic republic's nuclear infrastructure if diplomatic initiatives fail. Turning to the domestic front, the survey found that if direct elections were held now for prime minister, 37% of Israelis would support Likud Party leader Binyamin Netanyahu and 30% would vote for Kadima head Tzipi Livni, while only 11% favored Labor Party chairman Ehud Barak. Among those surveyed, 33% said they thought Netanyahu was more likely to make peace with the Palestinians and Syria compared to the 26% who thought Livni was the best candidate to do so. Only 10% thought Barak capable of those achievements. Netanyahu was also the most popular candidate when it came to security matters, with 38% favoring him, over 20% each for Livni and Barak. Similarly, Netanyahu was the preferred candidate on economic matters, with 49% of those polled stating that they would vote for him compared with 26% for Livni and 7% for Barak. On the Palestinian side, 48% said they wanted Mahmoud Abbas to continue to serve as president of the Palestinian Authority, while 38% said they wanted Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Looking ahead to the American role in the region after President-elect Barack Obama takes office on January 20, 57% of the Palestinians and 49% of Israelis want the US to play a more active role in moderating the conflict. Some 49% of the Israelis and the Palestinians surveyed said a more active American involvement would be successful. Fifty percent of Israelis and 59% of the Palestinians said they believed that American policy toward the conflict would not change after Obama took office. While the Israelis expect no change in US military economic and political support of Israel, the Palestinians expect that American support of Israel will strengthen. A Palestinian sample of 1,270 adults were interviewed face-to-face in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in 127 randomly selected locations between December 4 and December 7. The margin of error is 3%. The Israeli sample included 600 adult Israelis interviewed by phone in Hebrew, Arabic or Russian between November 26 and December 2. The margin of error is 4.5%.