November 18, 2009 - 1:00am

According to the monthly War and Peace Index, some 75% of the Jewish public in Israel support holding peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. This marks the highest support rate recorded on the War and Peace index in recent years.

Despite the optimistic numbers, the public is split vis-à-vis the demand to freeze construction in settlements in order to advance negotiations.

Some 47% think halting construction is imperative, while 50% do not see it as an important issue, and a majority of two thirds rejects the pressure mounted by the United States in the subject of halting settlement expansion.

Expectedly, 57% of those who support negotiations with the Palestinian Authority believe freezing construction is important, compared with only 37% who think otherwise.

Among those who reject negotiations, a whopping 93% do not believe construction in the settlements should be stopped.

Even among those who support negotiations, a majority of 57.5% oppose American pressure, compared with an expected 91% of those who object to renewing peace talks.

One year into US President Barack Obama's term in office, most Israelis deem his policies to be biased toward the Palestinian side.

Despite this sentiment, there has been a decrease in the number of people who believe Obama is pro-Palestinian, and an increase in those who think his position is neutral or even pro-Israeli.

While 55% claimed the president is pro-Palestinian in May 2009, only 40% thought so in the most recent survey.

The Jewish public is evenly split vis-à-vis Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's call to immediately renew negotiations with the Palestinians. Forty six percent believe Netanyahu's intentions are honest, while 45% say they are not.

Both Jews, Arabs deem Abbas irrelevant

Following Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's recent announcement he will not seek reelection, 60% of the Jewish public see his decision as a strategic step, while only 24% think he is speaking honestly. The remainder is unsure.

A clear difference of opinions exists in regards to whether Abbas is capable of reaching a long lasting agreement with Israel; one that will be accepted by the Palestinians.

Twenty eight percent are certain he can reach such an agreement, while 66% think or are certain he cannot.

The majority of the Arab public also believes Abbas's statement is driven by political considerations, and that he will not be able to achieve an acceptable agreement.

Following the publicized arrest of Yaakov (Jack) Teitel, who is suspected of committing a series of deadly attacks against Arabs and attempted murders of Messianic Jews and leftist, 20% of those questioned think half or more of the public support Teitel's views.

Thirty nine percent believe only a few share his stances, while 22% deem a large minority of the public holds the same opinions and 11% think a vast majority, and even the entire public shares the sentiments of the man dubbed the Jewish terrorist.

The War and Peace Index is funded by the Evans Program for Conflict Resolution Research of Tel Aviv University. The telephone interviews were conducted by the B. I. Cohen Institute of Tel Aviv University on 11-12-13 November 2009, and included 507 interviewees who represent the adult population of Israel (including the territories and the kibbutzim). The sampling error for a sample of this size is 4.5%.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017