Offbeat Israel: Polling Israelis on Obama and Settlements
Every month, Tel Aviv University pollsters gauge Israeli public opinion, and the Bintel Blog closely follows the results.
The latest poll, which was conducted last week just before Barack Obama’s speech, found that 55% of the Israeli public felt that the American president leans in favor of the Palestinians.
Few Israelis, 5%, said that he favors their county’s position, and 31% said they view him as neutral.
As Obama sets about changing America’s relationship with the Muslim world, 60% of Israelis do not trust him to protect Israel’s interests in the process.
Asked about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to Washington, 65% of respondents said it was unsuccessful and just 19% deemed it successful.
Given all the international attention to settlements, the pollsters decided that in this month’s survey they would gauge opinion on this subject.
More Israelis feel that settlements are bad for the state’s interests than those who think they contribute: the figures were 48% and 43% respectively.
Nevertheless, Israelis tend to expect large settlement blocks close to the Green Line to remain part of Israel in any peace settlement (as do most analysts), and therefore 53% of respondents said Israel should not agree to evacuate all settlements, even if a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians hinged on doing so, while 41% said it should.
The figures were very different when it came to illegal outposts and smaller settlements that are among Palestinian towns and villages. Regarding these, just 29% of respondents were against evacuation while 53% were in favor.