Jewish Israelis bearish on peace process, poll finds

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Eighty percent of Jewish Israelis believe the chances of the restarted peace talks producing a successful agreement are moderately low or very low, according to a new poll.

Some 18 percent of Jewish Israelis said the chances of a peace agreement are high or very high, according to The Peace Index, a monthly poll conducted by the Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute.

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Sixty-three percent of Jewish Israelis believe the Israeli government wanted to resume the talks, while 64 percent say the Palestinian leadership did not genuinely want to resume them.

Asked about major issues to be decided during the talks, 77 percent of Jewish Israelis opposed Israeli recognition in principle of the right of return, with a small number of Palestinian refugees being allowed to return and financial compensation for others; 62.5 percent opposed a withdrawal to the 1967 borders with land swaps; 58 percent opposed evacuating settlements except for Ariel, Maale Adumim and the settlement blocs; and 50 percent opposed transferring the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority with a special arrangement for the holy places.

Only 55 percent of Israeli Arabs supported the transfer of Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem to the P.A.

Some 62 percent of Israeli Jews believe a referendum should be held on a peace agreement, with 72 percent of Arab Israelis supporting a referendum. At the same time, some 46 percent of Jewish Israelis believe that all Israeli citizens should vote in the referendum, while 49  percent believe only Jewish citizens should. Eighty-eight percent of Arabs believe all Israeli citizens should vote in the referendum.

The telephone poll was conducted July 28-30 by the Midgam Research Institute. The survey of 602 respondents — 502 Jewish Israelis and 100 Arab Israelis — was conducted in Hebrew, Arabic and Russian. The margin of error was 4.5 percent.