Seventy five percent of Israeli Jews support the evacuation of unauthorized outposts in the West Bank, with 57% saying that they would even support the use of force in such evacuations and 18% saying that they would support the government on the issue if the evacuations come following an agreement with the settlers. Only 25% said that they opposed any removal of outposts, according to a study conducted by the Institute for National Security Studies and released for publication today. The Public Opinion Survey on National Security Issues also found that 58% of Israeli Jews supported the continued expansion of West Bank settlements. However, only 17% supported further growth over the green line if such activity “will result in a confrontation with the United States.” 42% of the public opposed all construction in settlements.
The survey found that Jewish backing for a Palestinian state has been steadily declining since it peaked at 60% in 2006. This year’s survey found that 53% of Jewish Israelis accepted the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Still, the survey drew a distinction between a solution based on a “Palestinian state” and a solution based on the formula “two states for two peoples.”
The survey also found that support for the “two states for two peoples” formula has been consistently above 60% in the past few years, with 64% voicing support for such a solution to the conflict in 2009.
According to the survey, Israelis were reluctant to accept a return to the 1967 borders and the evacuation of all West Bank settlements. The study found that only 15% were willing to entertain the possibility of a full pullout, up from 14% in 2007. Some 43% were willing to accept the evacuation of “small and isolated settlements” in return for peace, as opposed to 45% in 2007.
The survey, which was conducted during the first three weeks of May 2009, also gauged the public’s stance regarding engagement with Hamas. Only 18% of the respondents expressed support for dialogue – direct and indirect – with the Islamic rulers of the Gaza Strip. All in all, 72% supported continued military pressure on Hamas, including 33% who were in favor of toppling the Hamas government “even by occupying the entire Gaza Strip.” The remaining 10% supported the continuation of the Gaza blockade.
Regarding the nuclear threat from Teheran, the survey found that 59% of Jewish Israelis support a military strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities if Israel were to determine that the Islamic republic has obtained nuclear weapons.
Forty-one percent, on the other hand, said “Israel should use all the diplomatic means available to dismantle Iran’s nuclear capability but avoid a military attack.”
Still, only 21% said that they believed that Iran would “attack Israel with nuclear weapons with the goal of Israel’s destruction,” and only 3% said that they would leave the country if Teheran obtained such capabilities. Eight percent said they would “consider” emigrating from Israel if faced by a concrete nuclear threat from Iran.
The study also found that the Israel public is broadly opposed to a withdrawal from the Golan Heights in exchange for peace with Syria, with only 3% of respondents coming out in favor of ceding the entire territory. A vast majority, 60%, opposes any withdrawal from the plateau, and 20% stated that they were “willing to return the Golan to Syrian sovereignty but leave the Israeli settlements on the Golan.”