U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice incorrectly estimated this week that most Israeli citizens are willing to hand over Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority. Rice shared her assessment in a speech to 3,000 delegates at the United Jewish Communities General Assembly in Tennessee.
Vice Premier Chaim Ramon made similar claims in a meeting with European Union ambassadors on Thursday, telling the EU officials that the Israeli public supports his plan to transfer Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem to the PA.
Neither is correct.
According to a poll conducted by the Ma'agar Mochot Survey Institute (Brain Base) organization last month, however, her contention is not quite true. A majority of Israeli Jews strongly oppose a commitment by Israel "to remove the IDF from most of Judea and Samaria."
The findings of the survey showed 65 percent of respondents opposed the move, which would be a precursor to formal declaration of a permanent PA state. A majority of Israeli citizens (69 percent) also opposed handing over parts of Jerusalem to PA control.
The poll, carried out through a telephone survey of 1,012 adult Israeli Jews, was commissioned by the Jerusalem-based Israel Policy Center for the Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy and Jewish Values in Israeli Public Life on October 18-26. The Center, headed by Professor Yitzhak Klein, advises the Knesset Law Committee.
The survey also found that 77 percent of the Israeli public doubts the PA security force is capable of preventing terrorist attacks against Israel. Some 55 percent believe terrorists likely will fire rocket attacks from the area if the IDF pulls out.
Moreover, a majority of respondents (65 percent) said they believe the Hamas terrorist organization is likely to topple PA Chairman and rival Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas in Judea and Samaria. Hamas has already taken over Gaza, in a coup this past June.
Nonetheless, a separate survey by Brain Base earlier this month found that a majority of Israeli citizens (58 percent) oppose Attorney General Menachem Mazuz's decision to approve a plan to reduce the amount of electricity sent to Gaza in response to attacks from the region. Only 27 percent backed the ruling, which allows Israel to respond to the attacks on the western Negev in a non-military manner.
According to a new plan drawn up by the Defense Ministry, Gazans will have to decide where and when to direct the reduced electricity, thus relieving Israel of the responsibility for stopping electricity to hospitals and other humanitarian agencies.
The poll was conducted at the request of the "It's All Talk" program on Voice of Israel government radio.