The vast majority of Israeli Jews are against the release of terrorists "with blood on their hands" as a means of restarting peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, a poll commissioned by the Israel Hayom daily newspaper has found.
Almost 85 percent of Israeli Jews are against the release of terrorists who have committed deadly attacks as a means of facilitating the upcoming peace talks, the poll shows (9.4% said they would support such a move and 5.7% had no opinion).
A smaller proportion (78.1%) said such terrorists should not be released even after the talks resumed and even if such a move was contingent on progress in the peace process (13.7% support this, with 8.2% having no opinion).
The poll was conducted by New Wave Research on Wednesday and published in Israel Hayom’s Friday edition. Five hundred adult respondents comprising a random and representative sample of Israel's Hebrew-speaking Jewish population were polled.
In addition, 61.6% said that should an agreement with the PA be reached, a national referendum must be held on its merits (29.9% were either against a plebiscite or said a cabinet decision would suffice and 8.5% had no opinion). A majority of respondents (54.5%) said they would vote against a deal in which Israel makes territorial concessions and essentially withdraws to the borders that existed before the 1967 Six Day War (26.7% said they would support such a deal and 18.8% had no opinion).
According to the poll, 52.7% agree "in principle" for a two-state solution, while 36.8% are opposed (10.5% had no opinion).
Almost two thirds (62.7%) were in favor of resuming the peace talks (28.1% were opposed and 9.2% had no opinion), although an overwhelming majority -- 73.1% -- said negotiations would not lead to a permanent accord that would resolve the conflict (only 5.3% said the talks would conclude with a peace deal, while 21.6% had no opinion).
As for the likelihood of an agreement passing a referendum, 55.1% of those polled said such a prospect was unlikely (24.8% said the referendum would pass and 20.1% had no opinion).
Reports this week indicated that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu intends to free 82 terrorist prisoners in the course of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Most if not all of the terrorists were convicted of murder.
The prisoners are reportedly to be released in four waves, once every two or four months, as the negotiations advance.
Abbas has told U.S. officials that releasing the murderers is a “top priority” for his administration.
The Obama administration is eager to restart talks between Netanyahu and the PA with the goal of creating a PA-led Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Abbas is to represent the PA in the negotiations, despite his term in office having expired in 2009.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)