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Polls show Israelis are skeptical of a peace deal and Kerry but trust Netanyahu

Israelis are skeptical of US Secretary of State John Kerry's involvement in the peace process, but would reelect Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister
Israelis are skeptical of US Secretary of State John Kerry's involvement in the peace process, but would reelect Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister
GPO

Four polls were released this past week in Israel demonstrate how unpopular the Israeli-Palestinians peace talks and United States Secretary of State John Kerry's involvement is to the Israeli public. On Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 Ma'ariv released a poll demonstrating both the lack of confidence in the peace talks and opposition to the terms Kerry is proposing. Israel Hayom released a poll on Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 that primarily examined how Israelis feel about Kerry and their position on withdrawing from the Jordan Valley. The monthly Peace Index poll was published on Tuesday, Jan. 7 looked at Netanyahu's capability to withstand the pressure for concessions and a deal from Kerry. While an Israel Hayom and Panels Institute poll released on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 determined that Netanyahu and his Party Likud-Beytenu would lead if an election would be held.

On Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 Ma'ariv released a poll demonstrating both the lack of confidence in the peace talks and opposition to the terms Kerry is proposing. According to the poll a majority of 80 percent of Israelis do not believe the peace talks will result in any agreement, while a mere eight percent believe they will.

The poll also examines Israelis feelings about the 1967 borders and withdrawing from the West Bank, Judea and Samaria (Shomron) and the Jordan Valley. An overwhelming 73 percent of Israelis want to keep the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the Jordan Valley in the event of any peace deal. As for the opinion on the evictions of Jews from the settlements in Judea and Samaria, 34 percent would oppose an agreement that includes that stipulation. While around the same percentage would agree to a deal where the Palestinian Authority recognizes Israel and with a gradual withdrawal of troops from the Jordan Valley.

The Algmeiner writes that "According to Ma'ariv, the results of the survey indicate that the Israeli public is tired, disappointed and skeptical after years of seeing dozens of American mediators visit Israel, only to leave the region empty-handed." Most Israelis believe that the talks will imminently break down, because of the wide range of differences between both sides where it seems impossible for either side to make concessions because of their significance.

A similar poll conducted for Israel Hayom by New Wave Research Institute also release on Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 yielded similar results to the Ma'ariv poll. The poll primarily examined how Israelis feel about Kerry and their position on withdrawing from the Jordan Valley. According to the poll a significant majority of Israelis, 53.5 percent who responded "do not trust" Kerry as an "impartial" mediator for the peace talks. The feelings are even stronger about possibly withdrawing troops from the Jordan Valley, which is what Kerry wants in his peace agreement framework with 69.8 percent in opposition.

Israeli Jews especially have little confidence in this round of the peace talks. The monthly Peace Index poll published on Tuesday, Jan. 7 and conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University looked at Netanyahu's capability to withstand the pressure for concessions and a deal from Kerry. According to the poll 51 percent think the Prime Minister can make a deal that is in Israel best interests while, 43 percent do not think so.

The poll which looked at the division of opinions between Israeli Jews and Israel Arabs, firmly shows that Israeli Jews oppose the U.S. pressure by 53 percent, while 73 percent of Israeli Arabs support it. Of all Israelis, 66 percent believe Kerry is "committed to ensuring Israel's security," however, 55 percent of Jewish Israelis think it's "impossible to build trust between Israelis and Palestinians."

Despite the lack of confidence in Kerry and the United States role in the peace talks Israelis trust Netanyahu so much that two polls Israel Hayom's and a Panels Institute poll released on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 show that Netanyahu and his Party Likud-Beytenu would lead in an election. In Israel Hayom's poll Israelis consider Netanyahu the "best candidate" to "lead Israel" with 34.3 percent. The remaining candidates fare as follows "Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman (8.9%), Habayit Hayehudi Chairman MK Naftali Bennett (7.9%), Labor Chairman MK Isaac Herzog (7.2%), Hatnuah Chairwoman Tzipi Livni (6.8%) and Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid (6.4%)," with 28.5 percent undecided.

The Panels Institute poll looked at which parties would lead in an election, and the number of seats they would garner in the Knesset the results were similar to Israel Hayom's poll, and demonstrate the Israelis trust the center-right the most, mirroring their sentiments about the peace talks. According to the poll conservative Likud-Beytenu, the combined party of Likud and Yisrael Beytenu, who are maintaining their partnership would win 34 seats up from their present 31. The religious-Zionist and conservative Bayit Yehudi would win 14 seats up from their 12. The "biggest loser" would be secular and centrist Yesh Atid from 19 seats now to only 13 seats, while leftist Labor would be the greatest gainer from 15 to 17 seats. The poll concludes that "right wing and religious" would gain three seats from 61 to 64, while "left wing and Arab" would go down from 59 to 56 seats.

Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. Her specializations are US, Canadian & Israeli politics.