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Facts and Logic About
the Middle East
P.O. Box 590359
San Francisco, CA 94159
Two new polls show that Palestinians are not ready for peace with Israel, plus rampant mistrust on both sides
Dear Friend of FLAME:
Secretary of State John Kerry has clearly made the Israeli-Palestinian issue his priority. Since February, he has visited the Middle East five times. But to what futile and misdirected end?
Kerry could focus on any number of more serious conflicts in the region---from Iran's race toward a nuclear weapon and Bashar Assad's murderous attempt to save his dictatorship in Syria, to the next governmental implosion in Egypt. Yet Kerry persists in frantically attempting to bring the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.
In his first term as President, Barak Obama also tried to bring the two sides together, but then as now Palestinian President Abbas not only refused to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, he also became more hawkish in his demands. A viable peace seemed further away than it had in years.
Apparently Kerry has not learned much from Obama's failures and is once again trying to force a peace process, even though only one of the sides---Israel---will even agree to negotiations. In short, it's clear that the Palestinians are not motivated by the prospect of peace.
Take for example the following video depicting young children being brainwashed to hate Israel at a Hamas summer camp. They chant that they will "never recognize Israel" and that they will "never withdraw from the right of return."
Unfortunately, relenting on these two issues is critical to any future peace agreement. The Palestinians must recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and they must give up their demands for a right of return for all refugees. Nonetheless, the next generation of Palestinians continues to be brainwashed that Israel is occupying their homeland and that they will be part of the struggle to liberate "the entire land of Palestine."
How can Kerry expect peace to be even remotely possible?
For a good shot of realism, we recommend that Secretary Kerry take a sober look at a couple of recent polls of Arab and Israeli attitudes toward the peace process.
The first, the 2012 Index of Arab-Jewish Relations in Israel shows, according to the Algemeiner, "70% of Israeli Arabs do not accept Israel's right to have a Jewish majority", while The Times of Israel reports that "48% of Arabs said they thought a Palestinian state would someday replace Israel, whereas only 19% held this opinion in 2003."
The second poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research shows that both Arab Palestinian and Israeli Jews remain highly pessimistic about the peace process and distrustful of the other side. Most importantly, a majority of Palestinians oppose mutual recognition of Israeli and Palestinian states as part of a permanent peace settlement---not a heartening sign for Secretary Kerry.
We feature the results of this second study in this week's Hotline, since it's the Palestinians in the West Bank whom putative Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas must please. For an insightful read that illuminates the hopelessness of igniting the peace process, please take five minutes to review this article.
I'm sure you agree: It's imperative we ensure that Americans understand the fallacy of attempting to negotiate peace when the Palestinians' actions and views oppose the process. Above all, Secretary Kerry should not be pressuring Israel to make dramatic compromises while the Palestinians make none and while the Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza continue to foment anti-Israel hate. That's pure folly---and it's dangerous for the Jewish state.
Please pass along this week's Hotline to your friends, colleagues, and fellow congregants using the "send to a friend" button at the bottom of this email, or using the buttons above to share it via social media. Thanks for your continued support of Israel, and thank you for your support of FLAME.
FLAME Hotline Contributor
One of the greatest roadblocks to peace between Israel and the Palestinians is the outrageous demand for the "return" of Arab "refugees" to Israel. This demand has many problems, including the Palestinians' fantastical definition of "refugees"---a group that by their count has mushroomed from 650,000 to more than five million---enough to swamp the Jewish nation with Arabs if the demand were ever fulfilled. To expose the absurdity of this demand---and of UNRWA, the United Nations agency that supports these refugees (thanks to hundreds of millions of American taxpayer dollars)---we at FLAME have recently published "Who---and How Many---Are the Palestinian Refugees?" in media reaching 10 million readers nationwide, plus distribution to all U.S. Senators and Representatives, members of the Supreme Court, and, of course, President Obama. I hope you'll review this outspoken position paper and pass it on to your friends, members of your congregation and colleagues. If you agree that FLAME's bold brand of public relations on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support our publication of such outspoken messages. Please consider giving donation now, as you're able---with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to http://www.factsandlogic.org/make_a_donation.html. Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs---from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.
Palestinians display pessimism about the peace process . . . and both parties express distrust of the other side
Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research – Joint Israeli-Palestinian Poll, June 13-16, 2013
These are the results of the most recent poll conducted jointly by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah. This joint survey was conducted with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Ramallah and Jerusalem.
Summary of Findings
- Israelis and Palestinians continue to display pessimism regarding the peace process despite efforts by US Secretary of State John Kerry to renew the peace process and despite modification introduced to the Arab Peace Initiative: Only 27% of the Palestinians and 10% of the Israelis think that the two sides will return to negotiations and violence will stop while 34% of the Israelis and 31% of the Palestinians believe that negotiations will resume but some armed attacks will continue as well. On the other hand, 44% of the Israelis and 15% of the Palestinians think that the two sides will not return to negotiations and armed attacks will not stop and 21% of the Palestinians believe that the two sides will not return to negotiations but that violence will not resume.
- Furthermore, findings indicate that each side perceives the other side as constituting a threat to its very existence: 57% of Palestinians think that Israel's goals in the long run are to extend its borders to cover all the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and expel its Arab citizens, and 25% think the goals are to annex the West Bank while denying political rights to the Palestinians. 37% of the Israelis think that the Palestinian aspirations in the long run are to conquer the State of Israel and destroy much of the Jewish population in Israel; 17% think the goals of the Palestinians are to conquer the State of Israel.
(A) Attitudes and expectations regarding the peace process
(B) Conflict management and threat perceptions
- 56% of the Palestinians support the Saudi peace plan and 41% oppose it, while 24% of the Israelis support and 67% oppose it. A year ago, in June 2012, 51% of the Palestinians supported the Saudi plan and 45% opposed it, while 36% of the Israelis supported and 59% opposed it. In other words, the Arab modification of the plan, by accepting territorial swap, did not positively change the views of the Israelis. On the other hand, the Arab modification did not negatively affect Palestinian support for the initiative. The plan calls for Arab recognition of and normalization of relations with Israel after it ends its occupation of Arab territories occupied in 1967 and after the establishment of a Palestinian state. The plan calls for Israeli retreat from all territories occupied in 1967 including Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, and the establishment of a Palestinian state. The refugee problem will be resolved through negotiations in a just and agreed upon manner and in accordance with UN resolution 194. In return, all Arab states will recognize Israel and its right to secure borders, will sign peace treaties with Israel and establish normal diplomatic relations.
- As we do periodically in our joint polls, we asked Israelis and Palestinians about their readiness for a mutual recognition of national identity as part of a permanent status agreement and after all issues in the conflict are resolved and a Palestinian State is established. Our current poll shows that 57% of the Israeli public supports such a mutual recognition and 37% opposes it. Among Palestinians, 42% support and 56% oppose this step. In June 2012, 53% of the Israelis supported and 43% opposed this mutual recognition; among Palestinians, the corresponding figures were similar to the current poll (43% support and 55% oppose).
- Given the launching of the efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry to renew the peace process and the modification introduced to the Arab Peace Initiative accepting minor territorial swaps, 27% of the Palestinians and 10% of the Israelis think that the two sides will return to negotiations and violence will stop while 34% of the Israelis and 31% of the Palestinians believe that negotiations will resume but some armed attacks will continue as well. On the other hand, 44% of the Israelis and 15% of the Palestinians think that the two sides will not return to negotiations and armed attacks will not stop and 21% of the Palestinians believe that the two sides will not return to negotiations but that violence will not resume.
- Among Israelis, 50% are worried and 49% are not worried that they or their family may be harmed by Arabs in their daily life, this is similar to our June 2012 findings. Among Palestinians, 74% are worried that they or a member of their family could be hurt by Israel in their daily life or that their land would be confiscated or home demolished. In June 2012, perception of worry among Palestinians was identical.
- The level of perceived threat on both sides regarding the aspirations of the other side in the long run is very high. 57% of Palestinians think that Israel's goals are to extend its borders to cover all the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and expel its Arab citizens, and 25% think the goals are to annex the West Bank while denying political rights to the Palestinians. The modal category (Editor's note: "modal category" is the most frequent score in a sample) among Israelis is that the Palestinian aspirations in the long run are to conquer the State of Israel and destroy much of the Jewish population in Israel (37%); 17% think the goals of the Palestinians are to conquer the State of Israel. Only 17% of the Palestinians think Israel's aspirations in the long run are to withdraw from part or all of the territories occupied in 1967; and 36% of Israelis think the aspirations of the Palestinians are to regain some or all of the territories conquered in 1967.
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