A public opinion poll on settlements in the West Bank, conducted annually for the past six years, shows a trend of decreasing support among the Israeli public for the settlers.
The poll also reveals the public is less opposed to territorial concessions and more concerned of international boycotts, and conditions its support for settlers on their combating Jewish lawbreakers in the territories, including so-called “hilltop youth.”
The poll, conducted by a think tank led by Prof. Yitzhak Katz, was ordered by the Samaria and Jordan Valley Research and Development Center, and presented at Ariel University. Profs. Miryam Billig and Udi Lebel, who conducted the research, state that the poll shows a drastic decline in public support for settlers since 2009.
The 550 individuals over the age of 18 who participated in the poll do not reside in the West Bank, and reflect a cross-section of Israeli society. The poll revealed that 59 percent of those questioned believed the settlements harm Israel’s relationship with the United States government. Half of those polled agreed with claims that the budget for settlements come at the expense of education and social welfare, and 40 percent believe that Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria are a waste of the country’s money.
Seventy-one percent stated that settlers’ clashes with the IDF prevent them from identifying with the settlements, and 54 percent claimed the hilltop youth prevent them from identifying with the settlers as a whole.
The polls also revealed that a small minority supports perpetuating the status quo (12 percent), while 31 percent would support partial or full annexation of the West Bank, though the majority of the Israeli public (51 percent) would support partial or full disengagement as part of an agreement with the Palestinians.
At the same time, public support for a peace agreement hinges upon a complete cessation of terror (84 percent) and a Palestinian declaration to end the conflict (82 percent), according to the poll.
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