PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (L) and President Donald Trump (AP/Evan Vucci) (AP/Evan Vucci)
abbas and trump at white house

While Israelis desire peace, they don’t perceive it as achievable, nor do they view unilateral disengagement as a viable option, according to a recent poll. 

By: United with Israel Staff

A recent poll shows that the vast majority of Israelis support negotiations with the Palestinians, while only a small percentage thinks negotiations will achieve anything.

The monthly Peace Index of the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University published last month found that 74 percent of Israelis think President Donald Trump’s pending peace plan is doomed to fail and think that it will not gain traction.

Nevertheless, 77 percent of the public believe that Trump supports Israel’s interests.

With no real breakthrough in the negotiations with the Palestinians in sight, the poll shows that 61.5 percent of Israelis strongly or moderately still support negotiations with the Palestinians.

The survey included 600 respondents, who constitute a representative national sample of the adult population of Israel aged 18 and over. The maximum measurement error for the entire sample is ±4.1 percent at a confidence level of 95 percent.

In this same vein, the vast majority of Israelis believe that the Israeli disengagement from Gaza, which was presented as a step towards peace and security for Israel, was a mistake.

Respondents were asked if they thought that Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005 was or was not a smart move from the standpoint of Israel’s national interests, and the majority of the Jewish sample, 56 percent, responded that the disengagement was not a smart move.

Disengagement Towards Peace?

A similar poll was conducted a year after the disengagement, and found that 50 percent saw it as a mistake at that time compared to 46 percent who thought the opposite. In other words, over the years the rate of those who assess the move negatively has risen to a certain extent though not dramatically, with a corresponding decline in the rate of those viewing it positively, the pollsters Prof. Ephraim Yaar and Prof. Tamar Hermann explained.

At this stage a clear majority of the right, 75 percent, says the disengagement was not a smart move, compared to a clear majority in the center and on the left who say the opposite (center 61 percent, left 78 percent).

Among the Arab public, 70 percent consider that the disengagement was a smart move in terms of Israel’s interest.

Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yair Naveh, who commanded the IDF’s withdrawal from northern Samaria in 2005, declared that Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Israeli communities in northern Samaria in 2005 was a “grave mistake.”

In an interview with the Israel Hayom a year ago, Naveh, who was GOC Central Command at the time of the Disengagement and later became IDF deputy chief of staff, said that reality has proven the move has failed to give Israel any security or diplomatic advantage.

“There was no advantage to this eviction. None. Zero. Nothing has changed for the better there. It had no added value to security or to anything else. It was a frustrating event that left a feeling that it was all for nothing,” Naveh said.

“There’s no doubt that we weren’t able to create any sort of security advantage, neither in Gaza nor in Samaria,” Naveh commented. “If the disengagement from Gaza contributed anything to history, it did so by proving that terrorism has nothing to do with the settlement enterprise, and by proving that an eviction of this nature cannot be carried out in such a way again.”