Jews, Arabs agree:
Palestinians would destroy Israel if they could

Poll shows Israelis overwhelming oppose evacuation of 'isolated' settlements, but are evenly divided on Palestinian statehood.

David Rosenberg ,

Hamas terrorists at Gaza rally (file)
Hamas terrorists at Gaza rally (file)
Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

Israeli Jews believe that residents of the Palestinian Authority have not come to terms with Israel’s existence and would destroy the Jewish state if given the opportunity to do so – yet remain strongly divided on the issue of Palestinian statehood, a new poll shows.

According to the latest Peace Index survey by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, a solid majority of both Israeli Arabs and Jews agree with the statement that “Most of the Palestinians have not come to terms with Israel’s existence and would destroy it if they could.”

Nearly two-thirds (65.6%) of Israeli Jews and well over half (57.6%) of Israeli Arabs say they agreed with the above statement.

Despite that, an overwhelming majority (94.1%) of Arab Israelis and nearly half (49.6%) of Israeli Jews say they support the establishment of a Palestinian state, at least in principle.

Most Israelis, however, believe that even if a final status agreement were reached, it would be impossible in practice to implement. Just 38% of Jews and 39.9% of Israeli Arabs say it would be feasible to implement a final status agreement creating a Palestinian state, while 55.8% of Jews and 55% of Arabs say it would be impossible.

If it were possible, however, to reach such a deal, nearly half of Israeli Jews (46.8%) would back the establishment of a Palestinian state, while nearly as many (46.1%) would oppose it. Nearly three-quarters (72.8%) of Israeli Arabs would also back such a deal, compared to 24.3% who would oppose it.

The gap is far wider, however, when specific conditions of a possible final status agreement are examined.

While the Palestinian Authority has demanded eastern Jerusalem as the capital city of a future Palestinian state and the evacuation of all Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria not annexed in exchange for land-swaps, Israeli Jews overwhelming reject both demands.

Just 20% of Israeli Jews say that if Israel were on the verge of a final status agreement with the PA, they would accept a new Palestinian state declaring eastern Jerusalem as its capital. More than three-quarters (75.4%) would oppose such a move, even if it were necessary condition for reaching a final status agreement.

Israeli Jews also oppose evacuating “isolated settlements” in Judea and Samaria – a reference to the dozens of communities housing tens of thousands of Israelis which are outside of the security fence.

Just 27.4% of Israeli Jews backed evacuating isolated settlements, compared to 69.9% who opposed such a move. Most (82.7%) Israel Arabs, however, would back such a step, while only 10.4% would oppose it.

The survey also shows Israeli Jews standing firmly behind the demand articulated by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, that PA recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people must be a pre-condition for resuming negotiations.

More than four-fifths (82.7%) of Israeli Jews said the PA must recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people if final status talks are to proceed, compared to just 13.6% who disagreed. Only 17.1% of Israeli Arabs agreed with this demand, compared to 71.7% who rejected it.