“Sometime after the Six Day War the settlement enterprise began to develop. In your opinion, from a perspective of 50 years later, has the settlement enterprise contributed to or damaged Israel’s national interest?” was one of the opening questions in a June survey comparing the attitudes of Israeli Jews and Arabs on the liberated territories.
The survey found that 52% of the Jewish public thinks the settlement enterprise has contributed to the national interest.
And so the survey noted that “some claim that over the years Israeli governments have invested many resources and monies in developing the Jewish settlements and infrastructures in the West Bank/Judea and Samaria, and previously also in Gaza, at the expense of other areas and populations in Israel that are disadvantaged and would have needed these resources and budgets. Others claim that there is no connection between the two because one does not come at the expense of the other.” Then it inquired, “With which claim do you agree?”
49% of the Jews said there is no connection between the two; 45% say the investment in the territories comes at the expense of budgets for deprived areas and disadvantaged populations.
In the Arab public, a two-thirds majority considers the investments in the territories a detraction from investments in deprived areas and disadvantaged populations inside green line Israel.
The Peace Index is a project of the Evens Program for Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University and the Guttman Center for Surveys of the Israel Democracy Institute. The June survey, conducted by phone on June 28-29, 2016, included 600 respondents — 500 Jews, 100 Arabs, who constitute a representative national sample of the entire adult population of Israel aged 18 and over. The maximum margin of error for the entire sample is ±4.1%.
The survey also found that a majority of the Jewish respondents do not know for sure the size of the Jewish or of the Palestinian population in the West Bank/Judea and Samaria. Asked how many Jews live in these territories (not counting the neighborhoods of expanded Jerusalem such as Gilo or Pisgat Ze’ev), about 25% underestimated the figure to be 100,000-250,000, 30% answered correctly that the number is 250,000-500,000, 13% gave an overestimate of 500,000-750,000, 3% thought the correct number was 750,000 to a million, and about 25% did not know at all.
As to the Arab population in Judea and Samaria, not counting Jerusalem, the estimates were: 24%—half a million to a million, 36%—one to two million, 10%—two million to three million, and 3%—over three million. 27% did not know.
The fact is that no one really knows how many Arabs live today in the parts of Judea and Samaria governed by the Palestinian Authority, and so, in this instance, there is no wrong answer.
59% of the Jews and 73% of the Arabs favor holding a referendum on Israel leaving the territories. As to how the respondents would vote in such a referendum, 52% of the Jews reported that in the existing situation they would vote against a withdrawal, while 36% answered that they would vote in favor.
Among the Arabs 69% said that if a referendum were to be held today, they would vote in favor of leaving the territories while retaining the large settlement blocs.
Only 51% the Jewish respondents believe all the citizens of the state would be entitled to participate in such a referendum. 44% believe that only the Jewish citizens of the country should be entitled to participate.