Ynetnews (Analysis)
July 7, 2009 - 12:00am

Some 61% of the Israeli public support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands on settlement expansion, unless for the purpose of "natural growth," the War and Peace Index for June said Tuesday.

Thirty-one percent are against the PM's position, but both sides agree that the government cannot do anything that may harm Israel's relations with the United States.

The War and Peace Index is conducted by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research. Published monthly since 1994, it is run by Prof. Ephraim Yaar and Prof. Tamar Hermann and is compiled of a monthly telephone survey of 503 Israeli citizens representing the various sectors in Israeli society.

According to the survey, the vast support Netanyahu enjoys may lessen if his policies prove to be detrimental to US relations. Should that happen, only 40% of those polled said they would continue to support his settlement policies, while 48% said they would oppose them.

The numbers also revealed that 62% of the Israeli-Jewish public recognizes the existence of the Palestinian people, as opposed to 32%. A segmentation of the results indicated that the majority of those who said they do not believe a Palestinian people exists, are politically affiliated with Shas, Habayit Hayehudi and the National Union parties.

Fifty percent of the public also believe that the Palestinians should have a state.

'Shalit dealings unsatisfactory'

The index further indicated that 71% of the Jewish public is convinced that the Palestinians do not recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland – an assumption which transcends political affiliation.

The data did indicate, however, that should the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland, it would not necessarily boost the public's support for territorial concessions: 60% said that they would oppose establishing a Palestinian state if it would involve ceding area taken during the Six Day War.

The War and Peace Index also found that the majority of the Jewish public is adamantly against any formal recognition of the Nakba, or "catastrophe", which the term used to refer to the refugee flight of Palestinian Arabs that followed Israel's inception in 1948.

Meretz supports were the anomaly in this category, with 78% saying Israel must take responsibility, even a partial one, for the Nakba.

As for the government's efforts on behalf of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, 59% of those polled said the government's conduct in the matter was unsatisfactory, 31% said it was satisfactory and 10% said they did not know. Some 58% said Shalit's family should step up their actions.

The Survey, which has a maximum sampling error of 4.5%, is sponsored by the Evans Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution at the Tel Aviv University.


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