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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

July 2007 'peace index': You can't fool all the people all the time

Back in the 1994 heyday of the 'Oslo accords,' Israel's moonbat academics opened something called the "Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research" at Tel Aviv University and introduced something called the 'peace index.' The 'peace index's purpose is
to monitor how the Israeli public - Jews and Arabs - perceives the relations with the Arab states and the Palestinians and their political, social, and economic implications. The project is designed to answer questions such as: What is the image of peace among Israelis (Jews and Arabs)? What changes are occurring in perceptions of the other side with the shifts back and forth between violent conflict and political negotiation? How is the definition of Israeli self-identity affected by changing levels of external threat?—and so on. Some of the findings of the surveys are published in a monthly column in the Ha’aretz newspaper and in other newspapers in Israel and abroad.
The 'peace index' used to be publicized with lots of fanfare every month, but as you might imagine, since the 'Palestinians' started their war in September 2000, it has not been doing very well.

However, Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert keeps telling us that his 'immediate goal' is a 'Palestinian state' reichlet, and that now there is a 'window of opportunity' for 'peace.' Given that's the case, I wondered how many Israelis agree with Olmert? The answer, as you might expect, is not many. Keep in mind as you read these excerpts that they come from Israel's Hebrew 'Palestinian' daily, and are apparently written by the Steinmetz Center itself, so they are trying to put the best possible slant on it from their perspective. Which means that if anything, the public is even less supportive of Olmert's moves than the article claims:
Although a considerable Israeli Jewish minority currently supports an extensive Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank (except for the large settlement blocs), the majority does not support such a move even if it occurs in the framework of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Moreover, the majority objected to the recent freeing of the Palestinian prisoners, even though it was aimed at helping Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) boost his status among the Palestinian public, and an even larger majority opposes any future release of Marwan Barghouti despite the possibility that, if freed, he could strengthen the status of the secular Palestinian leadership.


Although a substantial minority of the Israeli Jewish public - 42 percent - supports a broad Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank (except for the large settlement blocs) in the framework of a peace treaty with the Palestinians, the majority - 53 percent - opposes such a measure. A segmentation of the positions on this question by voting for the Knesset in the most recent elections reveals, not surprisingly, a majority of supporters of a withdrawal among those who voted for Meretz (92 percent), but also among voters for Labor (76 percent), the Pensioners (65 percent) and Kadima (63.5 percent). Conversely, supporters of a withdrawal are only a small minority among voters for Yisrael Beiteinu (29 percent) and Likud (22 percent), and even fewer among voters for the National Religious Party/National Union (19 percent), Shas (6 percent) and United Torah Judaism (0 percent). [This has to make you wonder why Yisrael Beiteinu - and even more so Shas - are still in the coalition. In Shas' case, it's because their voter base is mostly static. Most of its voters will vote for Shas regardless of what it does on the security front. And as I have noted before, Shas' spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, has been sold on land for 'peace.' CiJ]

Coolness toward the Palestinians is also evident in the position of the majority - 59 percent - that Israel erred in releasing the Palestinian prisoners to strengthen the status of Abu Mazen (33.5 percent think this was the right step and the rest do not know).

An even larger majority - 71 percent - oppose the idea that Israel should set free Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti, who was sentenced for his involvement in serious acts of terror. The goal of such an act would be to enable Barghouti, who is very popular among the Palestinian public, to bolster the secular forces in their struggle against Hamas and the Islamic forces (22 percent favor the release and the rest have no opinion on the matter).

This unwillingness to undertake confidence-building measures, and to withdraw from territory, can perhaps be attributed to the lack of belief among the Israeli Jewish majority - 63 percent - that negotiations with the PA can lead to peace in the foreseeable future.


Fifty-five percent responded that the domestic and governmental problems are the gravest and only 22 percent saw the foreign and security problems as more pressing (19 percent regarded the two types of problems as equally severe and the rest had no opinion).

The sense that the domestic problems are more serious may be connected to a finding about the drawing of lessons from the Second Lebanon War. Only 20 percent think the government has taken the measures necessary to fix what was found to be defective in the war, compared to 52 percent who say the army has drawn its lessons and is taking the necessary corrective steps.

More generally, note also that the majority - 55 percent - thinks in retrospect that the war was justified but poorly managed. Thirty-nine percent say both that the decision to go to war was mistaken and it was badly managed, while only 2 percent say the war was both justified and well managed (the rest have no clear opinion).


The peace indexes for this month were: General Oslo Index: 34.8 (Jewish sample: 31.4)

General Negotiation Index: 50.1 (Jewish sample: 47.1)
You can't fool all of the people all of the time. In fact, you can't even fool half of them.


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