Just days before Israeli Independence Day, a new poll conducted by Tel Aviv University in conjunction with the Israeli Democracy Institute’s Guttman Center has revealed that Israelis are more pessimistic than ever about the prospects for a true peace with the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Among Israeli Jews, only 5.7% strongly believe that negotiations could lead to peace between Israel and the PA in coming years. In total only 20.7% believe peace is possible in the foreseeable future, compared to 77.6% who do not.
A strong majority of Israeli Jews also believe that Israel’s control over Judea and Samaria does not constitute an “occupation," with 71.5% of Jews rejecting the notion Israel is “occupying” those territories, as opposed to just 22.7% who agree with that characterization.
Israeli Arabs, however, were far more likely to believe Israel is occupying Judea and Samaria, with 71.5% perceiving Israeli control as occupation, versus a mere 15.3% who disagreed.
Israelis were more divided over Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s declaration that “the Golan will remain part of the State of Israel forever," which many perceived as reaffirming Israel’s 1981 annexation of the area.
Among Israeli Jews, 50.8% believed the affirmation was necessary, compared to 41.8% who disagreed. Surprisingly, 29.8% of Israeli Arabs agreed it was important for Netanyahu to make the declaration, versus 60.1% who felt it was unnecessary.
Regarding the nature of negotiations with the PA, Israeli Jews believe Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is far more important than a peace deal (48.2%), compared to just 27.5% who felt a peace deal was more important, while 16.1% felt they were equally important.
A majority of Israeli Jews (52.4%) said that maintaining a Jewish majority in Israel was their primary concern in establishing a final status for Judea and Samaria, though a significant minority felt Jewish sovereignty over all of Israel was more important (21.9%) or that the two were equally important (19.0%).
It is important to emphasize here that pollsters did not offer the option of choosing both, yet nearly one fifth of respondents offered such an answer regardless.