Fifty percent of Israelis support negotiations with Hamas if such talks are needed in order to reach a compromise deal with the Palestinians, while 47 percent object to such talks, a joint poll by Hebrew University’s Truman Institute and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research shows.
Poll results published Wednesday show an Israeli majority for a final-status agreement with the Palestinians based on the parameters outlined by former President Bill Clinton. On the other hand, public support for such an agreement among the Palestinians is dropping.
A clear majority of 64 percent of Israelis support Clinton’s proposal, the exact same figure as last year. However, only 46 percent of Palestinians support the Clinton deal today, as opposed to 54 percent in December 2004.
Researchers at the Hebrew University say the results reflect the sense of disappointment among Israelis and Palestinians with the disengagement plan. Other explanations include the dramatic political developments in Israel and the dire situation in the Palestinian Authority.
Israelis have shown more readiness to compromise over the last two years in light of the moderation expressed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, yet the latest outburst of Qassam fire and suicide attacks shifted public opinion slightly to the right.
The decrease in support of the Clinton parameters for peace negotiations among the Palestinians is a result of Palestinian frustration with the political struggles in the Palestinian Authority and the alarming economic situation in the Gaza Strip following Israel’s pullout.
Almost 40 percent support division of Jerusalem
The survey found that 62 percent of Israelis are against the release of Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti and against holding negotiations with him to reach a final peace settlement. Barghouti is serving 5 life sentences in Israel for his involvement in deadly terror attacks against Israel.
Some 80 percent on both sides support a prolonged ceasefire. Ovreall, 81 percent endorse the assimilation of Palestinian armed groups in the PA security forces as opposed to 53 percent if Israelis who approve of the disarming of violent groups and their integration in the PA security apparatus.
Among the Palestinians, 33 percent support a compromise on Jerusalem as opposed to 65 percent who oppose a division of the contested city whereby its Arab parts will serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state and its Jewish part will remain under Israeli control.
Among Israelis, 38 percent support a division of Jerusalem against 60 percent who oppose such a move.
Meanwhile, 72 percent of Israeli respondents said they believe Sharon will be able to convince the public to accept a compromise deal with the Palestinians, while only 29 percent saying they thought Labor party leader Amir Peretz could do the same.