August 7, 2013
Most Israelis would oppose any peace deal with the Palestinians that involved withdrawing to pre-1967 ceasefire lines, even if land swaps were agreed to accommodate Jewish settlements, a poll showed on Tuesday.
The survey by the liberal Israeli Democracy Institute showed 65.6 percent of those questioned did not expect to see a deal within a year.
The talks resumed last month after a three-year hiatus. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said he hopes a peace agreement that has eluded the parties for decades can be achieved within nine months.
But even if the government managed to defy skeptics and secure an accord, the poll, jointly sponsored by Tel Aviv University, suggested it would struggle to sell it to Israelis.
Of the 602 people questioned, 55.5 percent said they were against Israel agreeing to the 1967 lines, even if there were land swaps which would enable some Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to remain part of Israel.
Among Israeli Jews, opposition to such an agreement was 63 percent, while only 15 percent of Israeli Arabs said they would object to such a deal.
Some 67 percent of all Israelis said they would also oppose Palestinian demands for a return of a even a small number of refugees who either fled or were driven away when Israel was created in 1948. They were also against compensating the refugees or their descendants financially.
On one of the other issues facing negotiators, the question of whether Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem should become part of a Palestinian state, some 50 percent of Israeli Jews said they were against the idea.
Only 55 percent of Israeli Arabs were in favor, fewer than might be expected, suggesting Arab residents of East Jerusalem did not want to lose advantages of living under Israeli government control, such as health and national insurance benefits, the IDI said.
After an opening round of talks in Washington a week ago, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have agreed to meet again during the second week of August.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is also facing an uphill battle trying to sell the talks to his people, even within his Palestine Liberation Organization.
In a statement on Tuesday, two groups – the Popular and the Democratic Fronts for the Liberation of Palestine – called for the talks to be suspended, denouncing them as “a repetition of pointless and harmful negotiations” held since the early 1990s.