Gil Hoffman
The Jerusalem Post
April 8, 2011 - 12:00am

Three quarters of Likud members believe that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should wait until the fate of uprisings in the Muslim world becomes clearer before he takes any steps toward the Palestinians, a Ma’agar Mohot poll sponsored by the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip revealed on Thursday.

The poll of 821 Likud members representing a relatively large statistical sample of the membership had a 4 percentage point margin of error and was conducted in mid-March. But the council did not release the numbers until now, because they would have been overshadowed by other news developments.

While the poll found that Likud members had moved sharply to the Right on key issues, its initiators issued a caveat that they included in the sample some 10,000 right-wing members who have joined in the past several months and do not have the 16-month membership minimum required to be able to vote for the party’s chairman and Knesset members.

The poll found that 78% of the members oppose the creation of a Palestinian state, 92% favor restarting construction in settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria, and 95% oppose dividing Jerusalem.

Reflecting anger at Netanyahu, 53% said he gave too much weight to Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s opinions and 57% said Netanyahu was not implementing the promises he made when he ran for prime minister.

The poll indicated that respondents were ready to translate their beliefs into action. Two-thirds said they would not support ministers who backed transferring land to the Palestinians or forming a Palestinian state, while 41% said they would consider voting for Israel Beiteinu instead of Likud in the next election if Netanyahu followed up on his Bar-Ilan speech by announcing land transfers to the Palestinian Authority or creating a Palestinian state in temporary borders.

In a sign that Likud members had not crossed a rubicon to the extreme Right, only 24% said they were in favor of annexing the entire West Bank, while 76% said they would oppose such a move. Asked what party leader best represented their views, 65% of the Likud members said Netanyahu and 35% said Lieberman.

When asked if they were satisfied with Netanyahu’s performance as prime minister on socioeconomic issues, 57% said yes. On diplomatic issues, 51% answered affirmatively.

“Bibi has no backing in the Likud for taking diplomatic steps toward the creation of a Palestinian state,” a senior Likud minister said in response to the poll. “If that’s what he wants to do, he at best can form a second Kadima.”


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