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Survey: Most Israelis Oppose New Withdrawal

Most Israelis think Oslo Accords were bad for Israel, and oppose giving up Judea and Samaria.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 8/16/2013, 9:32 AM

Obama, Netanyahu and Abbas meet in New York, 2009
Obama, Netanyahu and Abbas meet in New York, 2009
Flash 90

Most Israelis think the Oslo Accords were bad for Israel, and would not vote today for a diplomatic agreement that involves an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria (Shomron), according to a new poll from Maariv/nrg.

The poll, conducted by Maagar Mohot, found that of Israelis who remember the Oslo Accords, 40% were opposed to the accords at the time, while 33% were in favor.

Today, 3% have changed their mind to support the accords, while 11% of former supporters now think the accords were a mistake. In total, 57% said the Oslo Accords were bad for Israel’s diplomacy, security and economy.

Regarding the current diplomatic talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, more than half of respondents – 53% - said they would not vote for a diplomatic agreement that involves an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, even if the PA would recognize Israel as a Jewish state and give up on the “right of return.”

PA leaders have firmly resisted recognizing Israel as a Jewish state due to their desire to see the “right of return” implemented, allowing millions of descendants of Arabs who fled pre-state Israel to claim Israel as their home.

Maariv/nrg took a bold approach in attributing the lack of desire to part with Judea and Samaria not to the “settlers”the usual culprits in the eyes of the EU and US – but rather, to the public’s feeling that the “core issues” in the Israel-PA conflict cannot be solved. The status of Jerusalem and the “right of return” were mentioned as two such insurmountable issues.

The PA claims all parts of Jerusalem that were under Jordanian control from 1949 to 1967, including the Old City and the Temple Mount, as the capital of a future PA state. Israel annexed the formerly Jordanian-controlled part of Jerusalem shortly after reuniting the city in 1967, and a January poll found that 78% of Israeli Jews oppose relinquishing eastern Jerusalem.

The current instability in the Arab world is also likely to be a factor, Maariv noted, as it makes Israel’s security needs less flexible.

The instability in Egypt and Syria may also heighten Israelis’ concerns over PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ ability to control terrorist groups within PA territory. Abbas lost control of Gaza in 2007, and faces challenges to his rule in Judea and Samaria as well. In addition, the PA Chairman’s term ended in 2009, and he has not yet faced reelection, leading to concerns that his signature on a peace deal may be meaningless.