Most Israelis Believe Trump’s Mideast Peace Plan Is Doomed, Poll Finds

Over 75 percent of Israelis think Israel’s interests are important to the U.S. president, while only 3.5 percent of Israeli Arabs think he cares about Palestinian interests

U.S. President Donald Trump walking on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, June 28, 2018.
\ YURI GRIPAS/ REUTERS

The vast majority of the Israeli public believes U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan – which has yet to be officially unveiled – is doomed to fail, even though they see him as being firmly on Israel’s side, according to a poll published Monday.

The Peace Index, a monthly public opinion poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute on topical issues, found that almost three out of every four Israelis (74 percent) view the chances of Trump’s peace plan being a success as low or very low. Fewer than 5 percent of the Israeli public believes its chances are very high. Arab Israelis tended to be even more pessimistic than Jews about its likelihood of success.

However, an overwhelming majority (77 percent) of Israelis also believe that Israel’s interests are important to Trump. Only 30 percent of Jewish Israelis, and just 3.5 percent of Israeli Arabs surveyed, said they thought the U.S. president cared about Palestinian interests.

The findings were based on a representative sample of 600 Israelis, with a margin of error of 4.1 percent.

On a separate matter, the survey found that a large majority of the Jewish public (83 percent) favors directly targeting Palestinians who launch flaming kites and balloons at Israel from Gaza. Even among Jews who self-identified as left-wingers, 43 percent were in favor of such acts of reprisal.

Among the Arab public, by contrast, an even larger share (87.5 percent) were opposed to direct targeting of perpetrators.

The survey also found that more Israelis support Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit’s recent decision to indict Sara Netanyahu than oppose it. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife was charged with fraud last month for allegedly using state funds to purchase hundreds of thousands of shekels-worth of meals from gourmet chefs, in violation of government spending rules.

Among those questioned, 47.7 percent called it a “proper decision,” while 32.4 percent said it represented “persecution” of the prime minister and his family.

Only 28 percent of those questioned said they believed the premier when he said he did not know the meals were being ordered in violation of the rules.