Only three in ten Jewish Israelis think Israel’s control of the West Bank amounts to “an occupation,” a new poll has shown.
The figures, published on Sunday in research from the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, stand in stark contrast to the thoughts of Arab Israelis, 90 percent of whom consider it an occupation.
The survey of 600 respondents, conducted at the end of May, also showed that more than half of the Jewish Israelis polled felt that Israel should have immediately annexed the territories it conquered in the Six-Day War of 1967, and more than half thought that building Jewish settlements in the territories was “wise”.
Almost two thirds of Jewish Israelis felt that Israel’s control of the West Bank contributed to the state’s security, and almost half felt Israel should still annex the territory claimed by Palestinians as their state.
Among the many areas of disagreement between Jewish and Arab Israelis were settlements, and whether they were an obstacle to peace. Six in ten Arab Israelis were sure they were an obstacle, compared to only 15 percent of Jewish Israelis who thought likewise.
While neither ethnicity was optimistic about peace prospects under US President Donald Trump, Jewish Israelis were most wary about his intentions, with less than five percent sure he would not pressure Israel. By contrast, almost four in ten Arab Israelis felt sure Trump would not pressure Israel.
The poll 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.
Among the more interesting findings was that a majority of Jews – 55 percent – felt that the involvement of Arab states such as Saudi Arabia could help in reaching a permanent peace, which most Jews and Arabs said they still favoured.