Most Israelis Believe Gaza Retreat Will Increase Missile Threat, New Poll Finds
July 9, 2004

NEW YORK- A new public opinion poll has found that the majority of Israelis now believe that retreating from Gaza will lead to more, not less, terrorism from Gaza Arabs against Israel.

The poll, take in late June by the Geocartography Group for the Israel Institute for Public Policy Polls, questioned a scientific sample of 503 Israeli Jewish adults and found:

* 51% believe retreat from Gaza will “escalate Palestinian motivation to fight Israel,” and an additional 8% believe it will have no effect on their motivation. Thus a total of 59% do not believe that retreat will diminish the Arabs’ determination to attack Israel. (Only 32% believe retreat will diminish the Arabs’ motivation for violence.)

* 55% believe retreat will “magnify the threat of missiles to Ashkelon, Ashdod, and the Negev” (areas within pre-1967 Israel), and an additional 9% believe it will have no effect on the threat of missiles. Thus a total of 64% do not believe that retreat will decrease the threat of missiles fired by terrorists at pre-1967 Israel. (Only 25% believe retreating will diminish the threat.)

* 61% believe that retreat will “accelerate the flow of military supplies to Gaza,” and an additional 10% believe retreat will not affect the weapons flow. Thus a total of 71% do not believe that retreat will slow down the weapons. (Only 15% believe it would slow down the weapons flow.)

* 37% believe retreat will “increase terrorism,” and an additional 13% believe retreat will have no effect on terrorism. Thus a total of 50% do not believe that retreat will lead to a decrease in terrorism. (Only 37% believe retreat will decrease terrorism.)

* 71% believe the introduction of Egyptian military personnel into Gaza will “restrain Israel’s counter-terrorism effort,” while only 15% believe it will facilitate Israel’s ability to fight terrorism.

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) points out that one by one, all of the arguments in favor of retreating from Gaza are crumbling:

* Retreat supporters claimed that the cause of terrorism is the presence of Jews in Gaza — but even as Israel is preparing to withdraw from Gaza, the terrorists are carrying out rocket attacks on Sderot and other cities within Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

* Retreat supporters claimed that if Israel withdraws, the Palestinian Authority will take action against the terrorists — but Yasir Arafat recently invited 5,000 of his Fatah Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade terrorists to become part of the official PA security forces in Gaza — meaning that the “police” will be the terrorists themselves.

* Retreat supporters claimed that an Israeli withdrawal would be rewarded by the U.S. halting its pressure on Israel to limit the security fence — but the Bush administration is continuing to pressure and criticize Israel over the fence issue.

* Retreat supporters claimed that most Israelis believe leaving Gaza will improve Israel’s security, but the latest poll demonstrates that most Israelis believe retreat will increase, not reduce, the terrorists’ missiles and other attacks.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “The time has come for both the Israeli and American governments to reconsider the proposal to retreat from Gaza, which would lead to the creation of a Palestinian Arab terrorist state that will endanger both Israel and American interests in the region.”

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