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Poll: Most Israelis want peace talks, but are skeptical

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Itongadol.- Most Israelis support negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, including a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but are skeptical that talks will yield results, according to the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University’s monthly Peace Index poll, released Tuesday.

When asked for their stance about peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, 61.8 percent are in favor to some degree, while 32.8% oppose to some degree. Israeli Arabs are far more likely to support talks, with 59.6% very in favor and 27.1% somewhat, than Israeli Jews, who are 26.3% very supportive and 30.6% somewhat.

As for a meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas, 69.8% support and 26.8% oppose, though only 30.9% of Israelis believed Abbas’ comment in a briefing to Israeli press that he made it clear that he wants to meet with Netanyahu, and never received an answer.

Despite their support for talks, most Israelis (67.7%) do not believe that negotiations will bring peace in the coming years and less than a third (29.1%) think it will.

Over half of Israelis (52.4%) disagreed with maintaining the status quo with the Palestinians, while 41.5% said the conflict can be maintained for many more years without it harming Israel’s security or existence.

Jewish Israelis were almost evenly split on whether or not Israel should annex all of the territory liberated in the Six Day War, with 45.3% supporting such a move and 44.8% opposing it.

Israelis were also almost evenly split in their assessment of recent comments by US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro that Israel has a double standard for Israelis and Palestinians in law enforcement in the West Bank, with 45.7% agreeing and 46.4% disagreeing, and as to whether such a double standard, were it to exist, is not justified (45.7%) than said it is justified (44.9%). Few of the Israelis polled (16.4%) thought it was likely that Israel will change in light of the comment; most (73.6%) thought the chance that the situation will change is low.

The vast majority of Israelis (74.2%) do not think, with varying degrees of certainty, that the international community’s criticism of Israeli policies in the West Bank takes Israeli and Palestinian interests into consideration equally; only 18.4% thought otherwise. Despite that, 43.8% said Israel should take the world’s criticism seriously, but 49.6% said the opposite.

Most Israelis do not support recent statements by opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) that he wants to separate Israel from as many Palestinians as possible as soon as possible, by building a wall between Jerusalem and Palestinian villages, because there is no partner for peace: 41.5% agree to some degree, while 52.3% disagree.

More Israelis agreed to some degree (50.8%) than disagreed (43.4%) with Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s criticism of the prime minister and defense minister, that they are not fighting terrorism aggressively or effectively enough.

The Peace Index poll was conducted on January 26-28 among a representative sample of 600 Israeli adults; it has a margin of error of 4.1%

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