Unexpected support for compromise on Jerusalem
Photo: Sebastian Scheiner
Compromise on Jerusalem in the cards? A surprising survey published by Israel’s leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth shows almost half of the Israeli public supports a compromise on Jerusalem in the framework of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
According to the Yedioth Ahronoth and Mina Tzemach poll, released Friday, 49 percent of Israelis back a compromise that would see Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods and Arab areas adjacent to the capital handed over to the Palestinians, with Jewish neighborhoods and the Western Wall remaining in Israeli hands.
The same figure, 49 percent, said they would object to such an arrangement. The implication of the results is that even before talks on Jerusalem’s status have been launched, half of the Israeli public is already willing to accept a compromise in exchange for a peace deal.
The survey was undertaken following remarks by an advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who was quoted by Newsweek magazine as saying the PM is ready to cede parts of Jerusalem. The poll aimed to check whether the threat that “Sharon would divide Jerusalem” has the same effect on Israelis as similar threats had several years ago.
Kadima down to 38 Knesset seats
According to the poll, most Israelis are unimpressed with Sharon’s denials, with 56 percent of respondents saying they believe the prime minister would agree to divide Jerusalem under a peace deal. Only 37 percent said they thought Sharon would not accept such a deal.
Still, 54 percent said Sharon is the most suitable candidate to lead the country, compared to 21 percent who said the Labor party’s Amir Peretz was the right man for the job. Another 16 percent gave the nod to the Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu.
The poll also asked respondents to indicate which party they would vote for in the upcoming general elections, a survey that would be repeated every weekend until the elections roll around.
Sharon’s new party, Kadima, went down slightly in the latest survey and would win “only” 38 Knesset seats were elections held today, down from 41 seats in an earlier survey. The Labor party gained two more Knesset seats in the survey, up to 23. The Likud, meanwhile, continues to struggle and is holding steady at 11 seats.
The survey also showed that Shas would be the fourth largest Knesset faction, with 10 Knesset seats.