The study, which has been conducted once-a-year since the start of the al-Aqsa Intifada, usually in conjunction with a major event, such as the Gaza disengagement plan.
The survey was headed by Prof. Gabi Ben-Dor, director of the university’s Center for National Security Studies. More than 1,000 people participated, including 811 Jews.
Part of the survey dealt with the steps people are prepared to take to stop government policy. On the question of blocking traffic, 20 percent of Green Line Jews said they would be prepared to take part in such an operation, as opposed to 26.6 percent of West Bank and Gaza residents.
Portrayed as ‘radicals’
As opposed to the popular image of West Bank residents as “extremists,” the survey shows that the more radical the protest action gets, the lower the percentage of West Bank residents willing to take part as opposed to Green Line colleagues. For instance, 9.7 percent of Green Line residents said they would be willing to take over government offices, buildings or factories to protest government policy, as opposed to just 6.5 percent of residents of the territories.
In response to the question, “Would you take part in a group that wanted to bring down the government by violent means,” 3.5 percent of the Green Line residents said they would do so, but no West Bank or Gaza residents agreed with them.
Refused to answer
One researcher, Dr. Dafna Kanti-Nissim, said she encountered resistance amongst settlers to answer questions. “First of all, they do not want to be portrayed as ‘extremists,’” she said. “Due to the nature of our questions, many hang up the phone, or simply refuse to answer questions.
“On the other hand, she said, “ when you are speaking about toppling the government by violent measures, you are speaking about one of the most extreme measures there are. People are not necessarily prepared to take part in something like that . I think we (as a society exaggerate the threat of extremism, and the study shows the public is still sane, and it is a situation of “not as you screamed,’”, she said.
“One more point, said Dr. Kanti-Nissim. “The survey shows that for the most part, extremists do not live over the Green line, but rather take part in actions that take place there.
The survey also dealt with the issue of land-for-peace. 54.1 percent of the Jewish public in Israel supports pulling out of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Dr. Kanti-Nissim says this trend has continued since the study began, including periods when terrorism was at a high.
“We are speaking about a general trend,” she said.