WASHINGTON – Pessimism was in the air in Israel following Operation Pillar of Defense
and slightly prior to the recognition
of the Palestinian Authority by the United Nations as a non-member observer state.
A survey conducted from November 21 to November 26 indicated that 51% of Israelis do not believe that a peace agreement will be reached with the Palestinians. Surprisingly, the poll also found that most Israelis are willing to give up Israel's
nuclear weapons in exchange for a non-nuclear Middle East.
The findings were presented at the opening of the ninth Saban Forum for US-Israeli strategic dialogue on Friday in Washington, shortly after the Palestinian Authority gained a large majority of the UN's General Assembly votes in its bid to attain observer status recognition.
The survey further revealed that 58% the Israeli public is willing to give up on the country's nuclear weapons, while 87% are of the opinion that Iran will eventually obtain nuclear weapons.
Hugs and handshakes - not yet (Photo: AFP)
The survey was conducted by the Dahaf Institute and Dr. Shibley Telhami, a researcher at the Saban Institute and lecturer at the University of Maryland. Some 600 Israelis participated in the November 21-26 poll, with a 4% margin of error.
According to the data, the Israeli public is split 50-50 on the question of whether or not to attack Iranian nuclear facilities. Amongst those in favor of such an attack, only 20% are for it even without US support.
The pollsters also checked the public's position in the aftermath of Operation Pillar of Defense. They found that 45% of Israelis believe that neither side was victorious in the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas; 40% said that Israel won the latest round of violence, while 11% said Hamas
was the victor.
Regarding Israel's strategic situation following the operation, 38% think that it remained unchanged, 36%believe the situation has improved and 21% believe the situation has worsened.
Furthermore, a little less than half of the Israeli public does not believe that a peace agreement will be reached with the Palestinians and 40% say that peace is unavoidable, but will only be attained in five years' time.
Israelis are optimistic regarding the peace agreement with Egypt.
Some 41% are of the opinion that peace with Egypt will be maintained, but altered; 36% said that it will remain in its current constellation and only 17% believe that it will be annulled within the next four years.
Moreover, it seems that Israelis are warming up to the United States in general and President Barack Obama in particular. Some 60% of Israelis believe that Obama is good for Israel and 60% think that things will remain unchanged in his second term.
Also, 60% of Israelis feel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
backed Mitt Romney for president, but claim that this will not affect the relationship between the two countries.
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