'Trump's push to renew Israel-PA peace talks likely to fail'

Poll shows majority of Israelis believe President Trump's efforts to bring Israel, PA back to negotiating table likely to fail.

David Rosenberg ,

President Donald Trump meets with PA chief Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem
President Donald Trump meets with PA chief Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem

Israelis are pessimistic about the prospects for a peace deal in the foreseeable future and fear a new war with Hamas may be in the offing, but are confident Israel’s security forces can overcome any challenge they may face, a new poll shows.

According to a study by the Israel Democracy Institute’s Guttman Center in conjunction with Tel Aviv University, majorities of both Israeli Arabs and Jews believe the chances of President Donald Trump succeeding in bringing Israel and the Palestinian Authority back to the negotiating table are low, and see the odds of a peace deal in the foreseeable future as even lower.

Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt is expected to arrive in Israel on Monday for his sixth round of meetings with Israeli and PA leaders since Trump’s inauguration this January.

The meetings are reportedly to set the groundwork for a regional peace summit later this year, at which both Israel and the PA will announce their return to the negotiating table.

But just 3.6% of Israeli Jews and 7.8% of Israeli Arabs think the chances are very high that Israel and the PA will actually resume peace talks. Overall, just 32.2% of Jews and 33.3% of Israeli Arabs believe it is likely the two sides will return to the negotiating table as a result of the president’s efforts.

Nearly two-thirds (62.6%) of Jews and 55.2% of Arabs believe it is unlikely peace talks will resume in the near future.

Israelis are even more bearish on the prospects of a peace deal emerging in the foreseeable future. Just 23.2% of Jews and 28.1% of Israeli Arabs think a peace agreement will be signed in the coming years between Israel and the PA, while 74.8% of Jews and 65.8% of Arabs think no such deal will come.

Nor do many Israeli Jews believe the PA is interested in actually reaching a peace deal with Israel. Just 1.8% of Jews are certain the PA is interested, along with 15.3% who think the PA probably is interested in a peace deal. More than 80% of Israeli Jews say the PA is not interested in signing such a deal, including 40.1% who are certain the PA isn’t interested.

But more than half (50.7%) of Israeli Arabs believe the PA is sincere in its stated desire to reach a final status agreement with Israel, compared to 43.1% who say it is not.

Israelis also expressed concern that a new conflict between Israel and Gaza could erupt this year, though most feel confident Israeli security forces are prepared to handle any threats that may arise.

Nearly two-thirds (65.6%) of Jews and 68.9% of Arabs say Israel’s security situation is good, compared to just 33.2% of Jews and 28.4% of Arabs who believe it is not good.

Majorities of both Jews and Arabs think a new war with Hamas is likely in the coming year, while most believe the odds of a war with Syria, Iran, and Hizbollah over the next year were low.

If war does break out, an overwhelming majority of Jews are confident the IDF achieve victory. Just half (50.1%) of Israeli Arabs expressed faith in the IDF’s ability to win, compared to 88.4% of Israeli Jews.

Most Israelis do not believe a third intifada is in the offing, with just 38% saying a new intifada is likely to erupt in the coming year, compared to 52.1% who say it is unlikely.

As in the case of war, most Israeli Jews (81.9%) are confident Israeli’s security establishment will be able to end a new intifada if one should erupt. Just 51% of Arabs shared that sentiment.