Most Israelis would oppose any peace deal with the Palestinians that involved withdrawing to pre-1967 ceasefire lines, even with swaps that would allow Israel to keep illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, according to a new poll.
The survey by the liberal Israeli Democracy Institute (IDI) showed 65.6 percent of those questioned did not expect to see a deal in talks between Israel and the Palestinians within a year. Negotiations resumed last month after a three-year hiatus.
But even if the Israeli government managed to secure an accord, the poll, jointly sponsored by Tel Aviv University, suggested it would struggle to sell it to its people.
Of the 602 people questioned, 55.5 percent said they were against Israel agreeing to the 1967 lines, even with swaps. Among Israel’s majority Jewish population, opposition to such an agreement was 63 percent, while among Palestinian citizens of Israel only 15 percent objected to such a deal.
About 67 percent of all Israelis said they would also oppose Palestinian demands for a return of a even a small number of refugees who either fled or were driven away when Israel was created in 1948.
They were also against compensating the refugees or their descendants financially.
On the question of whether Arab neighbourhoods in Jerusalem should become part of a Palestinian state, 50 percent of Israeli Jews said they were against the idea. 55 percent of Israeli Arabs were in favour.
After an opening round of talks in Washington a week ago, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have agreed to meet again during the second week of August.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is also facing an uphill task trying to sell the talks to his people, and even to his Palestine Liberation Organisation, an umbrella body that includes many leading political factions.
In a statement on Tuesday, two groups – the Popular and the Democratic Fronts for the Liberation of Palestine – called for the talks to be suspended, denouncing them as “a repetition of pointless and harmful negotiations” held since the early 1990s.