Are most Arabs pro-terror?

New poll shows most Jews now believe majority of PA Arabs - and Israeli Arabs - back murderous terror attacks against Israel.

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David Rosenberg,

Firebomb attack (illustration)
Firebomb attack (illustration)
Flash 90

A majority of Israeli Jews now believe that at least half of Palestinian Authority residents support murderous terror attacks against Jews, including the slaughter of the Salomon family in Halamish last month, a new poll shows.

According to the latest Peace Index, produced as a joint effort by Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute’s Guttman Center, a majority of Israeli Jews now believe that at least half Palestinian Authority Arabs back terror attacks on Israelis. The poll also showed that most Israeli Jews also believe half or more of Israeli Arabs support such terror attacks, including the July 14th murder of two Border Police officers near the Temple Mount at the hands of three Israeli Arab terrorists who shot the Druze officers in the back.

The poll, which surveyed 500 Israeli Jews and 100 Israeli Arabs from July 25th to 27th, comes after a part of deadly terror attacks in July left five Israelis dead. The first attack, which targeted Israeli officers in Jerusalem, was committed by Israeli Arabs; the second, which targeted a family celebration in Halamish (Neve Tzuf) was committed by a 19-year old Palestinian Authority resident.

Less than a quarter of Israeli Jews or Arabs expressed optimism regarding the prospects for peace between Israel and the PA, with just 22.5% of Jews saying negotiations were likely to result in peace in the coming years, compared to 74.8% who said they would not result in peace. Similarly, just 20.7% of Israeli Arabs said peace was likely to emerge from such negotiations, compared to 78.3% who said it would not.

Among Israeli Jews, an absolute majority said half or more of Israeli Arabs – who hold full Israeli citizenship – supported recent terror attacks, including the Temple Mount attack last month. Only 5.4% of Jews said almost no Israeli Arab supported such attacks, while 32.9% said a minority backed such attacks. More than a quarter (25.7%) said half of Israeli Arabs supported terrorist attacks, while nearly as many (24.7%) said a broad majority of Israeli Arabs support terrorism, and 6.2% say virtually all Israeli Arabs support attacks on Israel.

In total, just 38.3% of Jews believe only terrorism has only minority support among Israeli Arabs, compared to 56.6% who believe a majority support anti-Israeli terrorism.

An even wider majority – nearly three quarters – of Israeli Jews say most Palestinian Authority Arabs back terror attacks, including the murder of the Salomon family in Halamish (Neve Tzuf) on July 21st.

Only 3.1% say few PA Arabs back the Halamish attack, with 20.1% saying only a minority supports the murders. Nearly a quarter (24.5%) say half of PA residents back the murders, while 31.7% say a wide majority supports the murders, and 15.5% who say all or nearly all back the murders.

Just 23.2% of Israeli Jews believe most PA Arabs do not back deadly terror attacks against Israel, while 71.7% believe half or more of PA residents do back terrorism.

Israeli Jews also believe Israel punishes terrorists too lightly, with just 2.6% saying punishments for terrorists have been too harsh, 18.5% who say punishments have been appropriate, and 71.6% who say they have been too light.

Israeli Arabs, by comparison, overwhelmingly feel Israel punishes Arab terrorists too harshly, with just 2.3% saying punishments have been too light and 25.4% who say they have been appropriate. Sixty-three percent of Israeli Arabs say the punishments have been too harsh.

Jews and Arabs in Israel also differed in their views on the root cause of the recent surge in Arab terrorism. Just 21.1% of Jews believe the recent attacks are the result of despair among PA residents over the lack of progress towards peace, while 46.4% of Arabs say they believe that to be the case. Over three-quarters (76.6%) of Jews and 49.1% of Arabs say despair is not the cause of the recent attacks.