A surprising 80 percent of Israelis support the idea of Israeli sovereignty over all or part of Judea and Samaria, according to a new poll released by the respected Geocartography research institute.
The survey was commissioned by the University of Ariel, located in central Samaria, in advance of its annual Conference for Law and Mass Media.
The idea of Israeli sovereignty began to win popularity last year when a government-commissioned report by three legal experts, headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy, concluded that Israelis have the right under international law to live anywhere they want in Judea and Samaria.
The “Levy Committee” also debunked the popular concept, adopted by the United States and almost all of the international community, that Israel “occupies” Judea and Samaria.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu quickly shelved the report for “further study,” obviously not wanting to upset the Obama administration’s continuation of the long-buried “peace process” that it still promotes to an audience of none.
The most surprising results in the Geocartography poll related to the views of those who have left-wing views. More than a majority, in fact 60 percent, stated that Israel has to take sovereignty over at least part of Judea and Samaria.
Even among those who consider themselves thoroughly left wing, 42 percent agreed that international law must recognize Israeli sovereignty in part of the areas that the Palestinian Authority demands for itself, if it ever becomes an independent country
Overall, more than one-third of Israelis support Israeli sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria, and 25 percent think that it should apply to part of the area.
Most support for sovereignty undoubtedly is for Maaleh Adumim, a city of more than 40,000 located only 10 minutes away from Jerusalem, and the Gush Etzion communities, the largest of which is Efrat, heavily populated by Americans.
The nationalist Women in Green movement applauded the data that emerged from the poll.
“These figures might be surprising for a part of the Israeli public, but this comes as no surprise to us,” said Women in Green leaders Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar.
“ In recent years we have been traveling throughout Israel and wherever the question of sovereignty is raised, the idea is received favorably, with extensive support,” they added.
Asked by the Jewish Press if proposing sovereignty makes any sense in the wake of the American insistence to continue with its peace process plan, they said, “The Americans know that ‘two states for two peoples’ is, thank God, not a reality.”
Matar and Katsover also argued that with the failure of the peace process, there is no other alternative on the table, making Israeli sovereignty more of a viable option.
They dismissed many problems with sovereignty leaving Israel with a large Arab minority that could wreck the country’s Jewish identity.
The Women in Green leaders explained that there are several solutions to the problem but “first of all, let’s implement sovereignty and then we will deal with the arguments.”
Four different proposals on coping with the demographics have been proposed, they said.
One idea is to offer all Arabs citizenship on the condition that they pledge loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state.
Another idea to the opposite extreme is to pay Palestinian Authority Arabs to leave Israel.
A third proposed solution is to grant them the status of residents without citizenship.
The fourth idea is to recognize that Palestine is Jordan, where the Arabs in Judea and Samaria could move.
European Union and American officials would be aghast at any of the suggestions, but after 22 years of failed diplomatic attempts to build up a Palestinian Authority that can self-govern and guarantee security for Israel as a neighbor, the peace process in retrospect seems even more far-fetched than Israeli sovereignty.Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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