Poll: Two-Thirds Of israelis Believe Palestinians Against Israel’s Existence & Want It Destroyed
December 9, 2008


A new Israeli poll has shown that about two-thirds (63%) of Israelis expressed agreement with the statement that “In reality, most of the Palestinians do not accept the existence of the State of Israel and would destroy it if they could, despite the fact that the PLO leadership is conducting peace negotiations with Israel,” with only 20% disagreeing with the statement. The poll, funded by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research and the Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution of Tel Aviv University, was conducted by the B. I. Cohen Institute of Tel Aviv University on 1-3 December 2008 and included 598 interviewees who represent the adult population of Israel (including the territories and the kibbutzim). The sampling error for a sample of this size is 4.5%. (‘Poll: Netanyahu most likely to advance peace,’ Yediot Ahronot, December 7, 2008).


Other recent Israeli polls:


·        November 2008: A Ma’agat Mohot poll shows that one-third of Israelis (33% – 67%) believe it would be legitimate for soldiers to refuse orders to remove settlements from the Golan Heights. Among respondents who identified themselves as voters for right-of-center parties, the number saying the soldiers should not carry out the orders reached 41 percent. The poll also found that 58 per cent of Israelis opposed the proposition that Israel must withdrawal from the Golan Heights, as opposed to 27 percent who believe it must, with a further 15 percent saying that it depended on conditions and circumstances. (Herb Keinon, ‘Don’t obey Golan evacuation order,’ Jerusalem Post, November 24, 2008).

·        July 2008: Nearly three-quarters – 73% – of Jerusalem‘s residents (including Israeli Arabs) oppose the division of the city with physical barriers, as opposed to only 27% who would be willing to support it (Israeli Arabs comprise roughly 30% of Jerusalem‘s population). The poll of a representative sample of 507 adult Israelis (including Arab Israelis) carried out by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute (headed by Professor Yitzchak Katz for Israel Radio’s “It’s all Talk”) the afternoon was carried out on July 23, 2008, the day of Senator Obama’s arrival in Israel (‘Polls: 73%:27% Jerusalem residents oppose physical separation in city in wake of attacks,’ Independent Media Review & Analysis, July 24, 2008).

·        February 2008: Tel Aviv University’s February 2008 Peace Index poll showed that 71 per cent of Israelis believe that Israel should not accept Hamas’ offer to stop the fire in return for Israel ceasing its operations in Gaza and the West Bank and its pursuit of Hamas leaders. Whereas only 4% supported the present policy of restraint and 17% favored negotiating a cease-fire with Hamas, 26% called for reoccupying Gaza and staying there for an unlimited time, while one-third wanted a limited military operation in Gaza after which the IDF would withdraw (‘Majority of Israelis are against cease-fire with Hamas,’ Jerusalem Post, March 18, 2008).

  • An October 2007 Brains’ Trust (Maagar Mochot) Research Institute poll shows 53 percent of Israelis oppose U.S. funding for the Palestinian Authority (PA), only 16 percent support it.

  • An October 2007 Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research and the Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution of Tel Aviv University poll has shown that a clear majority of Jewish Israelis – 59 percent to 33 percent – oppose, even in return for a peace agreement, Israel handing over to the PA various Arab neighborhoods in the eastern half of Jerusalem.

  • A May 2007 Dahaf Institute poll for the Knesset Channel found 68 percent of Israelis oppose withdrawing from the Golan Heights and that 53 percent oppose withdrawals from Judea and Samaria, in both cases, even in return for a “real peace.”

  • A March 2007 INSS (previously Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies) poll showed that 72 percent of Israelis oppose uprooting Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and 71 percent believe that the Palestinian Arabs’ goal is destroying Israel, not a peaceful Palestinian state alongside Israel. It also showed only 28 percent of Israelis support the ‘land for peace’ formula, 58 percent oppose it.


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We see here a very clear realization by a large majority of the Israeli public that the true goal of the Palestinians is the elimination of Israel. When one adds to these the various polls that we have highlighted in recent years, showing that Israelis oppose further unilateral withdrawals, oppose major territorial concessions including dividing Jerusalem even for the sake of a peace agreement, and prefer that Israel use military force against Hamas in Gaza, it is apparent that the Israeli public does not accept the present Palestinian leadership as a genuine peace partner. More and more Israelis have rejected the idea of handing over more territory to Mahmoud Abbas’ terror-supporting Palestinian Authority, whether unilaterally or as part of a negotiation process. The Israeli public is becoming more firmly convinced that even negotiated concessions to an unreconstructed PA are pointless and wrong when such negotiations are under present conditions incapable of leading to a genuine peace.”

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