Poll: Most Israelis oppose annexing parts of West Bank
Majority also believe Netanyahu should resign if indicted in corruption probes
A majority of Jewish Israelis are opposed to plans proposed by right-wing politicians to annex large parts of the West Bank, according to a poll released Tuesday.
In the wake of the election of US President Donald Trump, lawmakers from the Jewish Home party and the Likud have put across plans for Israel to extend its sovereignty over some of the large settlement blocs and called for Israel to step up settlement construction.
However, the monthly Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University Peace Index poll found that a majority of Jewish Israelis (53%) are against annexing large parts of the West Bank with only 37% in favor. On this issue also 78% of Arab Israelis are against annexation.
Likewise 50% of Jews think that it is unwise to expand construction at present. In contrast, 45% think that settlements should be expanded.
When asked what status should be given to Palestinians in the event that Israeli sovereignty was extended to parts of the West Bank, less than a quarter of Jewish Israelis (24.5%) thought they should have the same status as Israelis.
The remainder was divided, with 30% holding that they should be given “the status of residents, which is less than citizenship — for example, they would not be allowed to vote in elections” and 31.5% saying “they should not be given any status beyond what they have now.”
Among Arabs, 62% were in favor of granting full citizenship to Palestinians if areas of the West Bank are annexed to Israel.
With regard to demolition of illegally constructed buildings, a large majority (71%) agree with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to demolish homes built without the correct permits in the Arab Israeli communities. And 79% believe that the state’s crack down on illegal construction should be applied equally to Jewish and Arab citizens.
Recent weeks have seen clashes and unrest as Israel has torn down illegal Bedouin residences and the illegal settlement outpost of Amona.
Almost three-quarters of Arabs (74%) are against the demolitions of illegal construction and 87% agree that Jews and Arabs should be treated equally.
The poll also examined attitudes to Netanyahu’s corruption investigations. Netanyahu is being investigated on suspicion that he took hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts from wealthy businessmen and also that he tried to cut a deal with a newspaper mogul for good coverage in return for helping to limit a competing paper.
Here, 60% of the Jewish public trusts the attorney general who authorized the investigations. However, only 37% of the Arab public trust him, reflecting a general lack of faith in law enforcement in Israel.
Reflecting the trust in the attorney general, the majority of the Jewish public (52%) believe that Netanyahu should resign immediately if an indictment is served against him, even though he is not required to do by law until he is convicted and his appeal is rejected.
In the Arab public, the rate of supporters of immediate resignation upon the serving of an indictment comes to 71.5%.
The survey was conducted by telephone and Internet from January 30 to February 1, 2017, by the Midgam Research Institute. The survey included 600 respondents (100 Arabs and 500 Jews), who constitute a representative national sample of the adult population aged 18 and over. The maximum measurement error for the entire sample is ±4.1% at a confidence level of 95%.