A new poll has shown that nearly three-quarters of Israelis 72% oppose President Barack Obamas policy of demanding a freeze on Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem, whereas only 22% of Israelis approve of it. The poll, conducted by Shvakim Panorama for Israel Television Channel 1, also found:
· Israelis blame President Obama for the current tensions in the U.S.-Israel relationship (59%), whereas only 16% blame Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu;
· 61% of Israelis believe that Obama is interested in improving relations with the Arab states at the expense of Israel, whereas only 27% believe that he is not (Poll: Israelis oppose freeze, blame Obama for tension, think Obama turning to Arabs at expense of Israel, Independent Media Review Analysis, April 25, 2010).
These results are consistent with numerous earlier poll results showing Israeli opposition to President Obamas policies of promoting a Palestinian state, negotiations leading to an agreement with Mahmoud Abbas Palestinian Authority (PA), opposing Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem and throughout Judea and Samaria:
· January 2010: A Panels organization poll conducted on behalf of the Knesset Channel found that an overwhelming 76% of Israelis believe that the PAs current Fatah leadership led by Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad is not interested in achieving peace with Israel, while only 17% of Israelis believe it is (Avi Yellin, Israeli Majority Skeptical About PA’s Intentions, Israel National News, January 29, 2010).
· November 2009: A Maagar Mochot Survey Institute Poll found that Israeli Jews believe by an overwhelming margin of 80% to 10% that the idea that Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 armistice lines would bring Israel peace for generations is simplistic and naïve. Israeli Jews also believe by a margin of 50% to 29% that Israel today does not have a Palestinian partner for negotiations in light of Palestinian efforts to condemn Israel in the wake of the Goldstone Report (Maagar Mochot Poll finds Israeli Jews Wary of Efficacy of Security Arrangements, Pessimistic of PA and of Quick Peace Deals, November 4, 2009, Independent Media Review & Analysis).
· August 2009: A Smith Research poll found that only 4% of Israelis regard the Obama Administrations policies as pro-Israel, as against 51% who believe them to be pro-Arab and 35% who believe them to be neutral. (The 4% figure marks a new low for Israeli confidence in the Obama Administration, the previous low having been a finding of a mere 6% in June). The poll also found that 50% of Israelis oppose a one-year agreement with the U.S. to freeze Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, as against 41% who would agree to it (Gil Hoffman, 4% of Israelis say Obama pro-Israel, Jerusalem Post, August 27, 2009).
· June 2009: A Smith Research poll found more than two-thirds of Israelis 69% oppose freezing construction within large Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, like Gush Etzion, Maaleh Adumim and Ariel, whereas only 27% of Israelis support the idea. It also found that only a tiny minority of Israelis 6% regard the Obama Administration to be pro-Israel, whereas 50 percent believe it to be pro-Palestinians, while 36 percent regard it as neutral between the two sides (Gil Hoffman, 6% see US administration as pro-Israel, Jerusalem Post, June 19, 2009).
· June 2009: A Maagar Mohot Survey Institute poll showed Israelis support by 56% to 37% Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus repudiation of President Barack Obamas demand that Israel freeze all Jewish construction and growth in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. The poll also found Israelis oppose (51% to 34%) Netanyahu acceding to Obamas reported demand that Israel abandon the settlement blocs as part of an agreement with the Palestinians (Maagar Mochot Poll finds Israelis want PM Netanyahu to reject President Obama’s demands, Independent Media & Review Analysis, June 11, 2009).
· June 2009: A Dahaf Institute poll sponsored by Yediot Ahronot found that 53% of Israelis believed President Obamas policies were not good for Israel, as against only 26% who thought they were; 51% believed that Obama cares more about Palestinian desires for statehood than Israels security, as opposed to only 22% who believed the opposite; and 51% were disappointed with Obamas polices, while 41% were not. Half the respondents said they blamed both Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the perceived crisis between Israel and the U.S., 28% solely blamed Obama and 16% just Netanyahu (Gil Hoffman, Poll: 26% think Obama’s policies bad for Israel, Jerusalem Post, June 8, 2009).
· June 2009: The War and Peace Index poll of the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research and the Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution found that 55% of Israelis believe that President Obama leans in favor of Palestinians, as against only 5 percent who believe he favors Israels stance, with 31% feel he is neutral. Also, 60% of Israelis do not trust Obama to consider and protect Israels interests during his efforts to improve relations between America and the Muslim word. A two-thirds majority (67%) of the Israeli Jewish public believes there is no chance for an agreement with the Palestinians that doesnt include creating a Palestinian state, while only 18% think there is (60% of Israelis dont trust Obama, Yediot Ahronot, June 4, 2009).
· June 2009: Israelis oppose uprooting Jews from Judea and Samaria even in return for a peace agreement with the Palestinians that would be good for Israel by 50% to 43%; Israelis believe they should say no to Obama and oppose concessions to the PA until PA provides peace and security on the ground by 54% to 33% (Geocartography Knowledge Group poll, Poll: Israelis say “no” to Obama 54%:33%, Independent Media Review & Analysis, June 3, 2009).
· February 2009: A new poll has shown that a majority of Israelis 5% oppose the creation of a Palestinian state, as opposed to merely 31% that favor its establishment. The poll, conducted by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute during February 2-3, 2009, also found that 52% of Israelis believe that the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria lead to rocket fire on Jerusalem, Kfar Sava and other cities in central Israel, whereas only 22% believe it would not. (Poll: Israelis oppose Palestinian State 51%:32% – 31% of Kadima voters would drop support if thought Kadima supports Pal State, Independent Media Review & Analysis, February 9, 2009).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, This latest poll confirms strongly the results of numerous other polls since the Obama Administration took office showing a clear Israeli disenchantment and opposition to his policies towards Israel and the Palestinians.
Since Israelis do not support the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state under current conditions, do not trust the PA leadership and therefore oppose concessions to them in return for signed agreements and since that also oppose totally freezing Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, they naturally oppose Obama, who supports these very policies.
But beyond the issues themselves, Israelis have seen the Obama Administration, from the President down, publicly condemning and pressuring Israel while ignoring or down-playing Palestinian intransigence, terrorism and incitement to hatred and murder.
They have seen how a sworn enemy of Israel like Syria has been courted and how the Administration has been slow to move on imposing any sort of sanctions against Iran.
They have seen the President inaccurately write off Jewish claims to statehood as some sort of consolation prize for the Holocaust in his June 2009 Cairo speech.
They have seen that many of his Middle East advisers have track records of hostility to Israel.
They have seen Obama, in a major speech to the U.N., couple Americas commitment to Israels security with Israel respecting the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians.
They have seen other senior Administration officials condition the extent of their efforts to stop Iran going nuclear on Israeli concessions to the Palestinians; and they have seen the Obama Administration condemn as an insult to America Israels announcement that it will build homes for Jews in a Jewish neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem.
They have also seen his Administration increasing aid to $900 million annually to a Palestinian Authority that refuses to negotiate, make concessions or end terrorism or incitement to hatred and murder against Israel.
Israelis have noticed and are worried with reason and, as we have previously noted, have been worried ever since Obama publicly pressured Netanyahu in Washington last May, at which point Israeli confidence in Obamas pro-Israel stance began to quickly evaporate, falling from 31% in May 2009 to 6% in June 2009 and then to 4% in August 2009. As the polls cited above show and the present poll now confirms, Israelis do not blame their government for any crisis in relations they blame Barack Obama, and they have every reason to do so.