Survey finds most Jews and Arabs in Israel support negotiations, but Jews rank peace deal only as second most urgent issue in Israel.
A majority (64 percent) of the Jewish public believes now is the right time to resume negotiations with the Palestinian Authority under US patronage, according to findings of a survey conducted by Tel Aviv University and The Israel Democracy Institute.
A majority (59%) of the Arab public also agree with this view.
The October 2010 Peace Index, carried out by telephone from October 18-20, also found that a large majority (72%) of the Jewish public favors peace negotiations, but only 33% think they are likely to be fruitful.
With respect to the price for extending the construction freeze, 74% support Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people as a condition for extending the moratorium on building in the settlements.
In contrast, a majority of the Arab public (79%) opposes this demand.
If a permanent peace were reached with the Palestinians, half of the Jewish public would be willing to evacuate settlements that are located beyond the large settlement blocs (Gush Etzion, Ma'aleh Adumim and Ariel). However, only 28% are in favor of Israel signing such an agreement, requiring an evacuation of all settlements in the territories. A 65% majority of the Jewish public opposes a full evacuation.
A complete evacuation in return for a permanent peace finds overwhelming (80%) support within the Arab public.
The findings also highlight that a majority (73%) of the Jewish public believes that if a peace agreement is signed, the Palestinian leadership will not be able to maintain its commitments under pressure from opposition groups such as Hamas. In contrast, should a peace agreement be signed, a 70% majority thinks the Israeli government will be able to uphold its commitments in the face of opposition from various domestic groups.
When asked "What do the Palestinians really want?" the findings revealed that a large majority of the Jewish public (80%) believes that the Palestinians have not come to accept Israel's existence and would destroy Israel if they could. Furthermore, a 74% majority believe that this position will not change even if a peace deal is signed.
Finally, the Peace Index findings revealed what Jewish respondents ranked as the most urgent issue needed to be confronted by the government. The survey found the following: 25% ranked the "war on corruption and establishment of clean governance" as most pressing; 20% ranked narrowing socioeconomic gaps and, separately, peace with the Palestinians; 15% ranked promoting economic growth; 14% ranked strengthening the Jewish character of Israel; and 6% ranked strengthening democracy in the country.
Obtaining a peace deal topped the Arab public's ranking of urgent issues with 38%, followed by promoting economic growth with 31%, and strengthening Israel's democracy with 14%.