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Thursday, December 7, 2006

Peace Index: November 2006: 27% Ceasefire will bring calm, 57% oppose reoccupying Gaza if only way to stop Qassams

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2006/12/peace-index-november-2006-27-ceasefire.html

THE EVENS PROGRAM IN MEDIATION THE TAMI STEINMETZ CENTER
AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION FOR PEACE RESEARCH

Peace Index: November 2006
Prof. Ephraim Yaar and Prof. Tamar Hermann

Expectations that the present ceasefire will lead to calm in the region are
very low, apparently because of the prevailing view in the Israeli-Jewish
public that the Palestinians will most likely violate the truce. It is
commonly believed that Israel agreed to the ceasefire-even though its real
implication is negotiating with Hamas-because the military measures that
were taken did not stop the Qassam fire. At the same time, a clear majority
rejects the idea that Israel should reoccupy the Gaza Strip even if it is
the only way to end the shelling. Moreover, now as in the past we found
broad support for holding talks with the Palestinian Authority despite the
fact that only a minority believes it would eventually lead to a peace
agreement.

There is sweeping criticism, cutting across the camps, for how the
government has dealt with the residents of Sderot and the other communities
subjected to Qassam fire. Nevertheless, the majority rejects the idea of
evacuating the Sderot residents from their homes, or evacuating just their
children. Given the criticism of the government's failures, it is no
surprise that the majority supports the involvement of businesspeople like
Arkady Gaydamak in giving aid to the residents, although there is
disagreement about their motives. Essentially, though, a broad consensus
believes it is the state and not civic bodies that should tend to a wide
variety of social needs.

When it comes to assessing the role of major institutions, governmental and
extragovernmental, in terms of their contribution to Israeli society, it
turns out the public clearly distinguishes between institutions it sees as
doing more harm than good and vice versa. The institutions whose
contribution was seen as more positive than negative included the
universities, the civil society organizations, the IDF, and the High Court
of Justice; the political parties, the Knesset, the banks, and the Chief
Rabbinate are seen as playing more of a negative role. For two institutions,
the police and the media, the assessments are quite balanced with a slight
leaning to the positive side.

Those are the main findings of the Peace Index survey that was carried out
on 28-29 November 2006.

On the question of whether the tadiyah-the ceasefire that the Palestinian
organizations declared in Gaza in exchange for a ceasefire by Israel-will
indeed bring calm to the region, 71% of the Jewish interviewees said they
did not believe so at all (43%) or not very much (28%). Conversely, 27%
responded that they very much (4%) or moderately (23%) believe this will
happen (2% did not know). As for whether Israel agreed to the ceasefire,
even though it really means holding negotiations with the Palestinians,
because Israel's military measures did not stop the Qassam fire, half the
interviewees thought that was the case whereas 39% disagreed (the rest had
no opinion).

Does this mean there is support for reoccupying Gaza if, as various elements
claim, that is indeed the only way to stop the Qassams? The findings reveal
that only about one-third (36%) favor a reoccupation while the
majority-57%-oppose it. Only among voters for Shas and for Torah Judaism is
there a majority for supporters of reoccupying Gaza; among National
Religious Party/National Union voters there is an almost even split with a
slight lead for opponents of reoccupying.

What, then, does the public see as the way out of the maze if it neither
supports reoccupation nor believes the ceasefire will survive? As in the
past, we found that some 70% favor renewing negotiations while 27% oppose
it. Yet here, too, belief in the results is low: only about one-third think
the negotiations, if renewed, would eventually lead to the signing of a
peace treaty.

Despite recent allegations, it seems the public is not at all indifferent to
the plight of the residents of the Qassam-bombarded areas, as emerges from
how it views attempts to address their problems. There is almost total
unanimity-82.5%-that the government's approach to protecting and assisting
the southern residents is ill-considered. Less than 2% think the approach is
very appropriate and 11.5% see it as moderately so. Voters for the National
Religious Party/National Union, Meretz, and Likud are particularly critical,
with almost no one among them thinking the government has dealt with the
matter as it should.
Given that interviewees both expect the ceasefire to collapse and reject a
reoccupation of Gaza, we asked them about the possibility of evacuating the
residents of Sderot and its environs from their homes if the Qassam fire
continues, in the knowledge that the Palestinians would view this as an
achievement. The findings show that only less than one-quarter favor the
idea and an overwhelming majority of 71.5% oppose it. Among the opponents, a
majority did not think even the children should be evacuated. Note that a
segmentation of the responses by the criterion of parenthood shows that, in
fact, among childless people the rate of supporters of evacuating the Sderot
and other residents (30%) is higher than among interviewees who do have
children (22%). A similar pattern, though with smaller disparities, emerges
for evacuating the children among those who oppose evacuating all the
residents. A possible explanation for this finding is that families with
children have greater awareness and sensitivity of the difficulties of
uprooting and adjustment entailed in removal from one's place of residence.
When responses to the question of an evacuation were segmented by gender, it
turned out that women favored an evacuation more than men, whether an
evacuation of all the residents (30.5% vs. 15%, respectively) or only of the
children among the opponents of evacuating all the residents (32% and 23%,
respectively).

The gloomy view of the government's treatment of the residents leads 63% of
the public to agree that if the state is not fulfilling its role, then it is
fitting for wealthy people like Arkady Gaydamak to finance initiatives such
as temporarily putting up the Sderot residents in hotels. At the same time,
the public is not naןve and only 38% think Gaydamak acted out of a genuine
desire to help while 32% say his aim was to strengthen his own public
standing. The rest are divided between 18% who thought he acted out of both
motives combined and 12% who lack a definite opinion. A clear majority of
those who credit Gaydamak with a genuine desire to help was found among Shas
voters, and there were smaller majorities for this view among Likud,
National Religious Party, and Yisrael Beiteinu voters. Only among Meretz
voters did a majority claim that Gaydamak financed these initiatives to
advance his own personal objectives.

None of this means the Israeli public supports a "privatization" of services
for citizens. Over three-quarters-79%-agreed that the state should tend to a
wide variety of social needs with only 12% saying the state should greatly
limit its involvement in these matters and let voluntary civic organizations
deal with them. Somewhat surprisingly, a higher rate of preference for a
government role in addressing social needs was found among those with
higher-than-average income-84%, compared to 76.5% among those with
lower-than-average income. Presumably, this gap reflects the unsuccessful
experience of the weaker groups, which need more assistance from the state,
with the aid that various governmental agencies have provided them both in
the recent war and generally over the years, as poverty has deepened. They
apparently received more satisfactory assistance from the civic
organizations. There is support for this assumption in the above-noted
relatively positive view of the civic organizations compared to the state
institutions.

In keeping with the findings of the Peace Index surveys and other polls in
recent months, the public generally does not view the country's various
political establishments positively. Sixty-nine percent assess the political
parties' contribution to the state as more negative than positive, and 61.5%
say the same about the Knesset. Nor do other establishments come out "clean":
59.5% see the banks' contribution as more negative than positive, and 43%
take that view of the Chief Rabbinate, 35% the opposite. However, 78% of the
public think the IDF contributes more that is positive than negative, as do
77% regarding the universities and 71% regarding the civil society
organizations. The High Court of Justice won a positive assessment of 57%.
Opinions of the police are less clear-cut, with 47% assessing its
contribution as more positive and 44% as more negative. Also for the media
there is a slight lead-44% vs. 42.5%-on the positive side.

The peace indexes for this month were:
Oslo Index: 35.8 (Jewish sample: 33)
Negotiation Index: 53.1 (Jewish sample: 49.4)
Syria Index: 34.6 (Jewish sample: 30.2)

The Peace Index Project is conducted at the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace
Research and the Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution of Tel
Aviv University, headed by Prof. Ephraim Yaar and Prof. Tamar Hermann. The
telephone interviews were conducted by the B. I. Cohen Institute of Tel Aviv
University 28-29 November 2006, and included 598 interviewees who represent
the adult Jewish and Arab population of Israel (including the territories
and the kibbutzim). The sampling error for a sample of this size is about
4.5%.

For the data of the survey see: www.tau.ac.il/peace

--------------------------------------------
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Website: www.imra.org.il


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2006/12/peace-index-november-2006-27-ceasefire.html. Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.

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