Gazans riot along border with Israel
Gazans riot along border with IsraelReuters

Israel has failed to achieve victory in its recent clashes with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, say a majority of Israelis according to a new poll.

Against the background of the visit to Iran by leaders of the Hamas terrorist organization, and marking five years since the end of the last extended conflict between Hamas and Israel in 2014, The Israel Victory Project on Wednesday published the results of a on Israeli attitudes toward the conflict with the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip.

The poll, conducted by New Wave Research, suggests that most Israeli Jews are frustrated with their government’s policies toward Hamas in Gaza, and highlights the desire of most Israelis to see their country achieve victory in the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Also highlighted by the survey’s results, is the Israeli Jewish population’s clear demand to see the eradication of Hamas, and a return to a policy of targeted assassinations of terrorist leaders.

The survey was carried out over the past two weeks and included 703 Israeli respondents, a representative sampling of the Jewish population in Israel.

According to the poll, 78% of Israeli Jews say the Arab-Israeli conflict has no end in sight.

Respondents were asked what they thought was the chance that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would end in the next two decades. In response, 50% said there was an unreasonable chance, and 28% said there was no chance at all of an end to the conflict.

When asked why the agreements between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs since 1993 have failed, 47% blame the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to recognize the existence of the Jewish state of Israel, with a further 16% blaming the Palestinian Authority’s uncompromising stance on core issues such as Jerusalem and the right of return.

Forty-one percent responded that the conflict would only end when the Arabs give up on their dream of destroying Israel, and that on this point the state of Israel should invest resources into convincing the Palestinian Authority to accept defeat.

One-third of Israeli Jews said the best way to achieve recognition of Israel as the Jewish state, was by crushing the Palestinian desire to continue fighting. At the same time, 20% favored resuming negotiations, 18% favored promoting economic development in Gaza and Judea and Samaria, while only 9% favored military operations such as Operation Cast Lead and Operation Defensive Shield.

A majority of Israeli Jews (84%) believe it is important for Israel to achieve victory over the Palestinians, but just 10% say they feel Israel is currently winning the conflict.

When asked to define what would constitute an Israeli victory, 32% said the Palestinian concession of their desire to destroy the state of Israel, a further 32% said a peace agreement with the Palestinians and an end to the conflict, 14% said recognition of Israel by the Arab states, and 12% said recognition of Israel by the wider international community.

An overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews (82%) say Israel’s policy against the Hamas terrorist organization was too soft, compared to only 38% who said the same of Israel’s policies vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria.

When asked about the ceasefire with Hamas following the last escalation of violence in south, 68% said they did not agree with the ceasefire. Notably, among respondents from the south, the numbers rise to 75% and among the residents of the north to 77%.

The survey also raised the question of how Israelis wanted to respond to Hamas' aggression. Just under half, (49%) of respondents demanded the government completely eliminate Hamas, 18% opted to stop supplying utilities and medicines to Gaza, 14% said they wanted to find a way to cooperate with Hamas, while only 1 in 5 said they supported the transfer of cash from Qatar to the Gaza Strip. In addition, 33% noted that Israel's security apparatus was too hesitant with the Palestinians.

In answer to the question of what methods Israel should employ to deter Hamas, 33% favored targeted assassinations, 19% said the death penalty for terrorists convicted of murder, 19% supported the use of overwhelming force in Gaza, and 9% supported cutting off the supply of water, fuel, food and medicines to the Gaza Strip.

The survey’s publication comes following the launch earlier in the week, of a campaign by the Israel Victory Project to promote the importance of Israel achieving victory over Hamas.

Billboards posted at key intersections in Tel Aviv, depicted Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh enjoying the beach, with suitcases of cash, satirically thanking Israel for its weak approach toward the terror group controlling the Gaza Strip.

Despite a supposed lull in hostilities against Israel, Hamas has continued to carry out attacks on Israeli civilians, using projectiles and incendiary balloons, as well as attempting to breach the border and conducting riots at the border fence.

Gregg Roman, director of the Middle East Forum who is overseeing the billboard campaign, said that the poll clearly reflected the Israeli public’s desire for the government to achieve a decisive victory over Hamas.

“At the very moment a delegation of Hamas’ military wing is in Iran to prepare for the next war against Israel, the findings of our survey are more relevant and important than ever.”

“This survey shows the Israeli public is fed up with weakness vis-à-vis Hamas and their supporters, and is demanding that Hamas be defeated as a way to resolve the conflict. The state of Israel must change its approach and understand that terrorism cannot be overcome with equanimity or appeasement, but only by defeating the terrorist organizations, and bringing them to the understanding that violence will not pay. The end of the conflict will come only through an unequivocal defeat of Israel’s enemies - whether it is reached by economic, military, and diplomatic means, while steadfastly confronting international pressure to the contrary.”