Daily Israel Report

Poll: Majority of Israelis Don't Think Peace is Possible

According to new poll, almost 80% of Israelis don't believe the renewed peace talks will result in a deal that will end the conflict.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 8/17/2013, 1:50 AM

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

An overwhelming majority - almost 80 percent - of Israeli Jews believe a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority is impossible, an opinion poll found on Friday, according to the AFP news agency.

Asked whether "this time, we will reach a final agreement that will put an end to the conflict," 79.7 percent of respondents said no, and just 6.2 percent said yes.

Another 14.1 percent expressed no opinion.

The survey, published in the Israel Hayom daily newspaper, was carried out by Israeli research institute Hagal Hahadash among a representative sample of 500 Israeli Jews.

Asked about the government's decision to release long-serving terrorists alongside the resumed peace talks, 77.5 percent of respondents said they opposed it and just 14.2 percent said they were in favor.

Israel released 26 terrorists on Wednesday, hours before the talks began in Jerusalem, the first of 104 terrorists slated for release in stages depending on progress in the negotiations.

15 of the released terrorists were transferred to Gaza, and another 11 were received by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, to scenes of public jubilation.

"This is the first group," Abbas told the crowd at the official welcoming ceremony. "We shall continue until we free all the prisoners from Israeli jails," he added.

A full 62.9 percent of respondents said they would rather the government have announced a freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria than release terrorists, many of whom were convicted of murder.

Another poll published on Friday, by the Maariv daily newspaper, found that 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.

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.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has pledged to bring any agreement with the PA to a referendum. The Knesset recently approved the first reading of a bill that will require the approval by the entire citizenry of Israel before any agreement can be authorized.

Passage of the bill means the government cannot approve any territorial compromise or “land swap” with the PA without the deal first going to a nationwide referendum, though it only applies to land concessions in territories where Israeli sovereignty applies, therefore it does not apply to Judea and Samaria which were not annexed by Israel after being liberated in 1967.

Abbas has indicated that, just like Israel, he too will hold a general referendum among his population over any final status agreement that might be reached with Israel before signing the dotted line.

(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.)