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middle-east_desert
(03/28/08) -

Palestinians, Israelis React Differently to Saudi Plan

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – While most Palestinians support a peace agreement proposed by Saudi Arabia, the majority of Israelis reject it, according to a poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 66 per cent of respondents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would back the comprehensive plan, while 57 per cent of Israelis would oppose it.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – While most Palestinians support a peace agreement proposed by Saudi Arabia, the majority of Israelis reject it, according to a poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 66 per cent of respondents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would back the comprehensive plan, while 57 per cent of Israelis would oppose it.

Saudi Arabia has proposed the Arab Peace Initiative (API) to reconcile Israel and the Palestinians. The plan states that Israel will retreat from all territories occupied in 1967 including the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, and a Palestinian state would be established. The refugee issue—or the "right of return"—will be dealt with in accordance with United Nations (UN) Resolution 194. All Arab states would agree to recognize Israel and establish normal diplomatic relations.

Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is currently heading the Palestinian Authority from the West Bank, endorsed by Israel and most of the Western international community. Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas became the de-facto leader in the Gaza Strip after his organization took over the territory in a violent confrontation with Fatah in June 2007.

In November 2007, Abbas and leaders from the United States, Israel and several Arab countries attended an international conference on Middle East affairs in Annapolis, Maryland. The meeting was brokered by United States president George W. Bush. On Nov. 27, Abbas and Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert announced they would work towards having a peace treaty signed by the end of 2008, which would include the creation of a Palestinian state.

The Islamic Jihad organization has been launching Qassam rockets into Israel from Gaza almost daily since Hamas took control of the territory. Israel holds Hamas responsible for the attacks for allowing the Islamic Jihad and other groups to act against Israel. In January, Israel completely sealed off its borders with the Gaza Strip and later launched a series of raids in order to capture or kill militants.

On Mar. 26, Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moallem said he is not sure the API proposal will be taken into account in a summit of Arab leaders in Egypt this weekend, saying, "Will we revive the initiative or put it aside and adopt other steps so that Israel would submit and respond to our will for peace—that’s what we will explore at the summit."

Polling Data

According to the Saudi plan, Israel will retreat from all territories occupied in 1967 including Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, and a Palestinian state will be established. The refugee problem will be resolved through negotiation in a just and agreed upon manner and in accordance with UN Resolution 194, which allows return of refugees to Israel and compensation. In return, all Arab states will recognize Israel and its right to secure borders, will sign peace treaties with her and establish normal diplomatic relations. Do you support or oppose the Saudi plan?

 

Israelis

Palestinians

Support

40%

66%

Oppose

57%

32%

Not sure

3%

2%

Source: Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research / Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Methodology: Face-to-face interviews with 1,270 Palestinian adults in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, conducted from Mar. 12 to Mar. 17, 2008. Margin of error is 3 per cent. Telephone interviews with 597 adult Israelis, conducted from Mar. 12 to Mar. 17, 2008. Margin of error is 4 per cent.