WASHINGTON – While Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman continuously discusses the possibility of territorial exchanges as part of a future peace agreement with the Palestinians, it seems that Israel's Arabs are simply not interested: A survey published by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution on Thursday indicated that 58% of Israeli-Arabs are against the annexation of Arab cities to a future Palestinian state in the framework of a peace agreement and territorial exchanges.
The poll, conducted in light of the failed negotiations between the US and Israel on another settlement construction moratorium, further showed that 62% of Israeli Jews believe the government should do more to achieve peace with the Palestinians. Some 43% believe peace will be achieved within five years, while eight percent said it would take even less time. However, 47% speculated that a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians will never be signed.
The survey showed that 40% of Israel's Jews are in favor of a peace agreement based on a return to the 1967 borders and the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, while 27% are against an Israeli withdrawal and a Palestinian state.
According to the poll, 63% of Israeli-Arabs do not believe peace is attainable, and two-thirds of them are not willing to forgo the "right of return" demand. Half of the Arab-Israelis polled said they would not be willing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state under any circumstance.
And what do Israelis think of the US' involvement in the peace process? According to the survey, 51% of Israel's Jews have a negative opinion of President Barack Obama, and 43% are not encouraged by Washington's Mideast policy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the most popular foreign leader among Israeli Jews, followed by former US President Bill Clinton, the survey showed.
The survey also showed that half of Israel's Jews define themselves firstly as Jewish and only secondly Israel; 75% of them support Israel's definition as a Jewish state to prevent the return of Palestinian refugees to the country ("right of return").
The survey indicated that 36% of Israeli-Arabs define themselves firstly as Arabs, as opposed to only 22% who consider themselves Palestinians first and foremost. In addition, more Arab-Israelis define themselves as Arab (34%) than Muslim (27%).
A survey of the American public's attitude toward the peace process showed that two-thirds of US citizens believe a solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict is one of America's five most important interests; 72% support Obama's mediation efforts.
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