Peace Index Poll reveals average Israeli places security as top concern in shadow of Palestinian missile offensive and descent into chaos
January 10, 2006, 11:41 AM (GMT+02:00)
The switch was abrupt. As recently as November 2005, a sampling showed 52% of Israelis for the first time since the Palestinian war flared in 2000 focusing on social and economic issues, compared with 27% who put security first. But Israeli priorities quickly reversed under the influence of the burgeoning Palestinian missile offensive that reached as far north as Ashkelon and the shambles of Abu Mazenâ€™s administration. In a second poll conducted Dec. 26-27, 42% of the same cross-section of 591 put security first leaving 38% to opt for economic and social issues.
The Peace Index Poll was conducted by Prof. Efraim Yaar and Tamar Herman at Tel Aviv Universityâ€™ Steinitz Peace Research Center.
Disillusion with the Palestinians is marked: 81% of Israelis canvassed say the Palestinian Authority is doing nothing to stop the missile attacks on Israel, while 73% are sure Israeli concessions would make no difference. A further 63% are certain the Palestinians would destroy Israel if they could.
There is also more anger: 68% rate â€œtoo weakâ€ the level of Israeli reaction to Palestinian attacks, while only 18% graded it satisfactory.
A 73% majority of Israelis still like the principle of direct peace talks with the Palestinian Authority in principle and 67% favor a Palestinian state.
Ariel Sharonâ€™s disengagement from the Gaza Strip is rated a good move by 55% of Israelis and denounced by 38%. However, further unilateral withdrawals from the West Bank would be unpopular. If the Palestinians established a stable post-election government, then 61% would agree to open talks on a final peace accord. Even then, only 8.5% would accept further pullbacks subject to Israelâ€™s security interests. But if the present state of anarchy prevails in Palestinian areas, 35% of Israelis want the West Bank status quo to remain unchanged, compared with 31% in favor of direct negotiations; more than 16% who would still go for further unilateral withdrawals.
Around 48% of Israelis support the notion of a territorial swap whereby Israel would retain the large settlement blocs in the West Bank in return for the Israeli Arab Triangle and its towns abutting the northern West Bank. This trade-off would be opposed by 37%. But 45% stipulate the swap cannot go against the will of the Arab inhabitants, although 33% would go through with it regardless.
DEBKAfile adds: Binyamin Netanyahu is indicating he will respond to the renewed Israeli preoccupation with security and growing misgivings over the breakdown of authority in Palestinian areas in the Likud campaign he leads for the March 28 election against Kadima and acting prime minister Ehud Olmert.
One caveat:getting rid of the Israeli arab triangle,at last
Please Ehud, as soon as possible