Only 12% of Israelis believe full West Bank withdrawal would end conflict
Israeli Jews are today significantly less willing to support a withdrawal from the West Bank than they were in 2005, according to a poll released last Monday by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Likewise, there is much less willingness now to agree with the parameters put forward by former US president Bill Clinton during his last days in office than there was a decade ago. Those parameters include a demilitarized Palestinian state, Palestinian security control of the West Bank, Jerusalem as the capital of both states, and the Temple Mount in Palestinian hands, with Israel retaining control of the Western Wall.
According to the poll conducted by Mina Tzemach, while some 60% of Jewish Israelis would support a withdrawal from the West Bank as part of a peace accord in 2005, only 36% would agree today. Likewise, support for the Clinton parameters has dropped from 55% in 2005 to 29% today.
Dore Gold, the former Foreign Ministry director-general who heads the JCPA, said the survey shows “the Israeli public implicitly understands that the Middle East remains a very dangerous and chaotic region and is not about to stabilize in the near future.”
He said the Trump administration “cannot ignore the trends in Israeli public opinion as it formulates its policy on Middle East diplomacy.”
The poll showed that only 27% of the population retained any belief that negotiations would lead to an agreement in coming years, while 69% said they either tended not to believe that would be the case or did not believe it at all.
While 17% of the Jewish population said Israel should agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state in all of the West Bank, fully 77% said it should not. When the settlement blocs were excluded from a future Palestinian state, the numbers changed dramatically, however, with 37% saying Israel should agree to that situation, but a majority of 57% saying it should not.
Only 12% of the respondents said they believed a withdrawal to the 1967 lines would end the conflict with the Palestinians, while 79% believed that it would not.
Regarding Jerusalem, 41% of respondents said Israel should agree to a situation in which the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem would be under Arab sovereignty and the Jewish neighborhoods under Israeli control, while just over 50% said Israel should not agree to such an arrangement.
Regarding the Temple Mount, fully 83% opposed transferring the Temple Mount to Palestinian sovereignty.
Asked if Israel should make the establishment of a Palestinian state conditional upon a Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, 71% said it should, compared to 20% who said it should not.
Regarding the Jordan Valley, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel must retain in any final agreement, 81% thought it was important to hold on to the area in any agreement, while 8% thought that was either not so important or not important at all.
Asked about some kind of confederation between a future Palestinian state and Jordan, 48% favored the idea, while 33% were opposed.
In other questions, 84% agreed with the statement that the world will be critical of Israel regardless of how far it goes to reach a settlement with the Palestinians.
The survey was taken among a representative sample of 521 Jewish Israeli adults via Internet interviews on March 20 and 21. The study has a reported maximum sampling error of 4.4%.
BY HERB KEINON, The Jerusalem Post, March 28, 2017