Israeli Left Collapse but Left’s Policy Positions Still Held by Most Israelis – New Israeli Poll

September 3, 2015

A new poll measuring Israeli attitudes towards that country’s left wing was conducted recently by Molad – The Center for Renewal of Democracy, and its findings are curious, to say the least (Note: this is according to TLV1's podcast The Promised – I have not found reported in the English language this poll, nor does it yet appear on Molad's website).

The poll found that most Israelis consider the left’s diplomatic and security doctrine to have been a failure. From its peak of power and influence during the Rabin years, the left wing’s influence in the Israeli government has declined consistently since the Prime Minister’s assassination, the collapse of the Barak-Clinton Camp David Summit and the second Intifada, and most recently following the failure of the Kerry negotiations. However, when asked if Israelis still support the Clinton Framework that emerged out of the Oslo Peace Process that proposed a 2-state solution, a border between Israel and a future state of Palestine drawn roughly along the pre-1967 armistice lines with land swaps, Palestinian refugee resettlement only in the to-be-established state of Palestine, demilitarization of the West Bank except for a Palestinian police force, and a shared Jerusalem in which both states have their capitals, 46% of Israelis still support it as opposed to 40% that are opposed.

When Arab-Israeli citizens were removed from the polling sample to measure only the attitudes of Israeli Jews, 45% supported the Clinton Framework with 40% opposed.

When the Clinton Framework was considered in the context of larger multi-lateral agreements including Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, Israelis favorable ratings increased to 50% and 39% opposed.

Other findings, however, suggest another side of the very same Israeli electorate that reveals deep distrust and fear of the Palestinians, which many commentators believe is a direct consequence of years of events accentuated by aggressive fear-mongering by Israel’s right wing:

• 72% of Israelis are somewhat or highly convinced that Hamas will not stop its violence against Israel after a 2-state peace agreement is achieved;

• 70% are afraid that the West Bank will turn into a second Gaza ruled by Hamas;

• 68% believe that Palestinians will always want more and more Israeli land until Israel ceases to exist;

• 67% believe that Israel will be flooded with Palestinian refugees even if the agreement designates that the refugee population can only resettle in the state of Palestine;

• 63% believe that a serious rift in Israeli society will form if settlements are evacuated that are not included in the West Bank’s large settlement blocks;

• 61% do not want Jerusalem divided though they support the Clinton Framework that calls for a shared city.

What does not seem to be reflected in the polls is the strong cooperation that has existed in the last several years between Israel’s security forces and the Palestinian Authority that has resulted in a dramatic reduction of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis; nor does the fact that during the two years prior to the outbreak of last summer’s war against Hamas, Hamas had held to a negotiated cease-fire with Israel; nor do Israeli attitudes seem to reflect President Abbas’ commitment to non-violence, though he has been inconsistent.

In a recent podcast on TLV1 The Promised (“Peace by the Numbers” – August 27, 2015), journalists Noah Efron, Don Futterman and Allison Kaplan Summer debated what these conflicting statistics mean, what opportunities there may be still to advance a peace process leading to a two-state solution and what is to blame for the inconsistencies.

The Molad poll revealed that the issues that have most concerned the Israeli left wing, such as income inequality, peace with the Palestinians, Israel’s relationship with the European Union, and Israel’s diplomatic and economic ties with the West, are not considered particularly important to the right-wing and therefore are not priorities to the current Israeli government, even though these concerns are still of important concern to the majority of Israeli voters.

The TLV1 segment addresses all the related substantive issues and considers what dynamics within Israel and among the Palestinians are contributing to the continuation of the status quo, which likely will lead to ongoing violence and war.

This 15 minute segment is well worth your attention – click on http://tlv1.fm/the-promised-podcast/2015/08/27/peace-by-the-numbers/

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