Monday, January 11, 2010

War and Peace Index: 53% Jews support Gov't rejection of Hamas demands for Shalit release

(Via IMRA).With the start of the new year, a majority of the Israeli Jewish public considers that the present government is functioning well or even better in the security sphere, medium in the economic sphere, and not well to poorly in the social sphere.

Security: Good-excellent 42% Medium 36% Bad 16%
Economic: Good-excellent 29% Medium 29.5% Bad 35.5%
Social: Good-excellent 6% Medium 27% Bad 60%

In the security context,We asked: “According to the overview by the chief of Military Intelligence, 2009 was a particularly quiet year in security terms. Some claim the quiet resulted from the activity of the Israeli security forces, and some claim it resulted from a decision by the Palestinian leadership to reduce the use of violence at this stage. Which, in your opinion, contributed more?”

A clear majority (54%) of the Jewish public sees the activity of the Israeli security forces as the reason for the quiet, and only 19.5% say that the quiet resulted from a decision by the Palestinian leadership to lessen the violence.

When it comes to forecasts for the coming year in the security sphere, a clear majority—57%—of the Jewish public believe the situation will remain as it is, 19% think there will be significant progress in peace talks, and only 13% foresee a further round of violent struggle between Israel and the Palestinians (11% do not know).

On the question about the government’s decision not to accept Hamas’s proposal on the terms for releasing Gilad Shalit. We asked: “According to the media reports, the Israeli government did not deign to accept Hamas’s latest proposal regarding Gilad Shalit because it includes, among other things, the release of the ‘heaviest’ terrorists. In your opinion, did the government act rightly or wrongly in rejecting Hamas’s proposal?”

In the Jewish public, the majority (53%) answered that they are sure or they think the government acted rightly, while only about a third (35.5%) thought or were sure that it acted wrongly (11.5% did not know). The current position of the Jewish public is considerably different from the prevailing position in recent years, when a large majority favored Shalit’s release even at the price of freeing terrorists “with blood on their hands.” It appears that as
the moment of decision approaches, the public tends to rely on the government’s judgment on this painful issue.

Conversely, the prevailing position in the Arab public was that the government erred—57%, with only 20% saying it acted rightly.