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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Disengagement was 'useless' but support for Israel at all time high

I think I've mentioned before that I don't place a lot of faith in Israeli opinion polls. This dates back to 1996 where right up to the morning after the elections, 'the polls' were insisting that Shimon Peres was going to be Prime Minister. Of course, Peres cannot be elected to the house committee of his condominium and Bibi Netanyahu won that election.

It's not just me who regards the surveys as inaccurate. Just yesterday, Arutz Sheva reported that 75% of Israelis refuse to participate in polls (how they kept them on the phone long enough to determine that is a different issue, unless they just assumed that everyone who hangs up the phone on them is unwilling to participate in polls generally).

But two interesting polls came out yesterday all the same.

One poll, taken by the leftist Geocartographic Institute and reported on Army Radio, determined that the majority of the Israeli public believes that the disengagement from the Gaza Strip was of no practical value.

... Some 70% of those surveyed replied that the implementation of the disengagement plan did not contribute anything towards peace, while only 20% thought the plan was a stimulus for improved relations with the Arab world.

Strong feelings surfaced about the treatment of evacuees. 68% of survey participants thought that the government neglected the settlers who were evacuated from Gush Katif.

Some 50% of those surveyed categorically denounced any future unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria. 18% supported a future disengagement on condition that it created conditions conducive to a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority. 23% said that a unilateral withdrawal was necessary, since the Palestinians were not partners for peace.

This poll may not be any more accurate than the others. But the Arutz Sheva article could go a long way in reconciling this poll with continuous polls that purport to show that Kadima Achora is going to win forty seats in the upcoming elections.

The other poll is an American poll, so it's likely more accurate and less biased. It was reported early this morning on Little Green Footballs.

Gallup Poll Shows Dramatic Drop in Support for Palestinians

Following the election of Hamas as the Palestinian Authority’s ruling party, Americans have grown more pessimistic that peace will ever be achieved in the Middle East, and increasingly sympathetic toward the Israelis. American opinions of the Palestinians had been improving in recent years, but now are among the worst Gallup has ever measured. Most Americans do not believe the United States should give any financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority — regardless of its stance toward Israel — and most say the United States should conduct diplomatic relations with the Palestinians (only) if they recognize Israel as a nation.

Hamas secured a majority of seats in the latest Palestinian parliament, raising worldwide concerns about what the militant organization, considered by many nations to be a terrorist group, might do with governing power. By a 2-1 margin, Americans now say there will never come a time when Israel and the Arab nations will live in peace, according to the annual Gallup Poll on World Affairs, conducted Feb. 6-9. The 65% to 32% split compares with a roughly 50-50 split last year. The current reading on this “future peace” measure, along with one other reading from August 2001, represents the most pessimistic Americans have been since the question was first asked in 1997.

Gallup also finds that Americans who say they follow news about world affairs “very closely” are more likely to sympathize with the Israelis (66%) than Americans who follow foreign news only somewhat closely (59%) or who do not follow it closely (52%).

Read it all.


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