Is control of the territories in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) an occupation? According to the most recent Peace Index, 62 percent of the Jewish public believes it is not an occupation.
When asked, “Do you agree or disagree with the view that at present Jerusalem is actually divided into two cities: the eastern city and the western city?” 61% of Jews and 54% of Arabs agree.
The Index, published June 4 the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, focuses this month on the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War and sentiment surrounding the recent visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to Israel.
When asked whether immediately after the Six-Day War Israel should have ceded conquered territories and launched negotiations with the Arab states for a comprehensive peace agreement, a large majority of the Jewish public (65%) said it does not think so. In contrast, when asked, “Would it have been wise to annex the territories immediately after the war?” a majority (55%) of the Jewish public agrees with the assertion that Israel should have annexed via legislation all the territories it conquered (as was done in the cases of east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights) and presented the world and the Palestinians with a fait accompli.
And what about today?
On the question of whether one supports the assertion that “the time has come for Israel to officially annex all the territories that were conquered in the war,” the Jewish public is evenly split between supporters (44%) and opponents (45%).
>Fifty-one percent of the Jewish public thinks the policy of building settlements in Judea and Samaria is wise.
>>On the right, a three-fourths majority believes it was a wise policy, compared to only a minority (37%) in the center and almost no support (4%) on the left.
>Fifty-six percent oppose the claim that the settlements are an obstacle to reaching peace with the Palestinians.
>>On the left, 89% see the settlements as an obstacle to peace.
About two-thirds of the Jewish public thinks Trump’s visit to Israel was successful, whereas the majority (52%) of the Arab public thinks it was unsuccessful.
But when it comes to the public’s assessment of the likely results of Trump’s visit, the majority of the Jewish public is less positive. For example, 59% of the Jewish public views the chances of Trump bringing the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table as low. The public skepticism is even greater regarding the chances that, under Trump’s sponsorship, and Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement will be achieved in the next year or two; there is near-unanimity (82%) by the Jewish and Arab public that the chances of this are low.
Relatedly, 52% of Jewish Israelis think Trump will pressure Israel to support the Saudi peace initiative as a basis for Israel-Palestinian negotiations. An interesting finding is that a majority of Jews (55%) think the involvement of Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia, could help in reaching a permanent peace.
The Peace Index is a project of the Evens Program for Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University and the Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research of the Israel Democracy Institute. This month's survey was conducted by telephone and on the internet on May 28-29, 2017, by the Midgam Research Institute. The survey included 600 respondents (500 Jews and 100 Arabs), who constitute a representative national sample of the whole adult population of Israel aged 18 and over. The maximum measurement error for the entire sample is ±4.1%.