The Israeli community of Efrat in Judea. (Miriam Alster/Flash90) (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A new polling of Israeli public opinion, published just days ahead of Israel’s Independence Day, shows that the vast majority of citizens understand that the Judea and Samaria region is not “occupied Palestinian land,” and that Israel has a right to assert its full sovereignty over the area.

The monthly Peace Index, published by Israel Democracy Institute’s Guttman Center for Surveys and the Tel Aviv University, said that poll shows an “unequivocal slant of the public’s positions” on the question of whether it is right or not right to define Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria as an “occupation,” with a large majority of the Israeli Jewish public, 71.5 percent, saying it is not “occupation.”

Incidentally, this is the exact percentage of the Arab public that thinks the opposite.

Asked about the prospects of future diplomatic negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, the survey showed that the Israeli Jewish public is divided on whether it is currently appropriate or inappropriate to renew the political negotiations with the Palestinians, though the rate of those who think the present time is inopportune, 49 percent, is a bit higher than the rate who think the opposite, 44 percent.

When it comes to the question of what is important to discuss during the negotiations, however, it turns out that the distribution of opinions is much clearer.

On the question “Which of the following two things is more important to you: that a peace agreement be reached with the Palestinians or that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people?,” 48 percent of Israeli Jews regarded Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people as more important than reaching peace, with only 27.5 percent preferring this goal.

Some sixteen percent answered that the two goals are important to the same extent, and 6% responded on their own initiative that neither of the two is important to them.

The poll’s analysis said that the findings indicate that, in the view of the majority of the Jewish public, Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people is a necessary condition for reaching a peace agreement.

This would be an obstacle difficult to surmount, as the Palestinian leadership has repeatedly refused to do so.

The poll found an even clearer distribution of opinions on the question of what is more important – that Israel have a Jewish majority or that Israel be the sole sovereign entity in all of the historical Land of Israel.

The majority, 52 percent, responded that it was more important to them that the state have a Jewish majority, with only 22 percent opting for sovereignty over the entire Land of Israel as more important.

For 19 percent, the two objectives are important to the same extent.

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

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel

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