Poll: 21% of Settlers Back Resisting Evacuation 'By Any Means'

Hebrew University poll finds 63% of settlers believe West Bank settlements should be evacuated only after referendum.

Twenty-one percent of settlers believe that all means must be employed in to resist the evacuation of most West Bank settlements, including the use of arms, according to a recent Hebrew University study.

Five years ago, however, just 15 percent gave the same response.

Sixty-three percent believe the evacuation of settlements must be carried out only after a referendum rather than a Knesset decision.

The study, conducted at the beginning of the month by the university's Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, found that 54 percent of settlers do not recognize the government's authority to evacuate settlements, compared with 50 percent in 2005.

Asked whether they would accept the removal of settlements if a referendum found a majority of Israeli Jews in favor, 49 percent of settlers said they would not, compared with 46 percent five years ago. The proportion of settlers willing to follow rabbinical instructions to evacuate settlements also dropped slightly, from 72 percent in 2005 to 71 this year.

Among the general public, 72 percent accept the government's authority to order a settlement withdrawal, compared with 67 percent who would support such an order from the Knesset and 51 percent who support a referendum.

The study, supervised by Prof. Yaacov Shamir, also found that settler support for removing the majority of settlements has dropped from 30 to 23 percent in five years. Among the general public, that figure rose slightly, from 59 to 60 percent. Although a majority of Israeli Jews support a settlement withdrawal, only a third of respondents said such an evacuation has the support of the majority.

Fifty-two percent of settlers said a government decision to remove the majority of settlements must be opposed, compared to 61 percent in 2005.

The survey was conducted by phone among a representative segment of 501 adults in Israel proper and 506 West Bank settlers.

The study has a 5-percent margin of error, partly because the 2005 study included residents of the Gaza Strip settlements now living in Israel.