Opinion poll finds Israelis don’t want peace

There is bad news for the delusionals who believe the current talks between the Israelis and Palestinians are anything but a smokescreen for consolidating the Israeli occupation.

As has been widely reported, the scenario that has been causing the most excitement among some Palestinians, Israelis and Americans is one that envisages a partial Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank with some land swaps, meaning Israeli annexation of the Jewish squatter colonies bordering pre-1967 occupied Palestine in return for giving back to the Palestinians some of the land occupied by the Zionists before the 1967 war. As Uri Avnery put it,

For the Jerusalemites, Bill Clinton had a simple answer: Leave them [the Jewish squatters] where they are. Redraw the map of Jerusalem in such a way that “what is Jewish will become part of Israel, what is Arab will be part of Palestine”…

For the big settlement blocs, the solution is already more or less agreed: territorial swaps. The settlements hard on the border will be annexed by Israel, Israeli territory of equal size (though, perhaps, not of equal quality) will be turned over to Palestine.

Anticipating this possibility, on 28 July the Israeli government approved a measure that would require a public referendum on any peace agreement that involves withdrawing from land Israel captured in the 1967 war.

Herein lies the joker in the pack, even if one accepts the injustice of a settlement along the lines outlined above. According to an opinion poll, the results of which were released on 6 August, most Israeli Jews would oppose a peace agreement with the Palestinians involving withdrawal from the West Bank with land swaps to let Israel retain major squatter colonies. What this means is that the current round of talks is simply an exercise in futility: talks for the sake of talks.

As reported by the Tiimes of Israel, the poll, conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University,

found that 63 per cent of Jews in Israel oppose a withdrawal to the 1967 lines with land swaps as part of any peace arrangement with the Palestinian Authority…

Assuming Israeli retention of Ariel, Ma’aleh Adumim and other settlement blocs, 58 per cent of Jewish respondents were opposed to the dismantling of other settlements…

The survey found that one in two Israeli Jews also oppose the transfer of Arab neighbourhoods in Jerusalem to Palestinian Authority control with a special arrangement for Jewish holy sites. In other words, they reject the Clinton formula for the occupied holy city.

As for any willingness by Israeli Jews to make amends, even if symbolically, for the ethnic cleansing of 1948, forget it. The survey found that 77 per cent of Israeli Jews “would oppose any agreement that recognized in principle a right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants, with a small number being allowed to come and live in Israel, and compensation for the rest”, reports the Times of Israel.

Finally and unsurprisingly, as one would expect from a fundamentally racist society, 49 per cent of Israeli Jews “said that the national referendum should not include the country’s Arab citizens, as opposed to 46 per cent who think all Israelis should have a say”.

In a nutshell, Israelis don’t want “peace”, they want “peace and quiet”, meaning they want the Palestinians to accept defeat and shut up. That has not happened in 65 years of struggle, and it will not happen.

As the saying goes, no justice, no peace, and the sooner the Israelis understand that the better for everyone concerned.

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