Majority of Israelis oppose defense deal with Saudis in exchange for Palestinian state

A total of 55.6% of the Israeli public are against linking Palestinian statehood to a regional defense pact.

By Joshua Marks, JNS

A majority of Israelis oppose agreeing in principle to the future establishment of a Palestinian state in exchange for a permanent regional defense agreement, according to the 15th “War in Gaza” survey published by the Israel Democracy Institute on Sunday.

The question was asked about a Palestinian state against the backdrop of the United States, Saudi Arabia and Jordan helping to fend off the massive Iranian drone and missile assault on Israel on April 13.

In addition, the Biden administration is pushing for a pathway to a Palestinian state as part of a normalization agreement between Riyadh and Jerusalem. It would include a defense package and security guarantees.

A total of 55.6% of the Israeli public are against linking Palestinian statehood to a regional defense pact (37.2% certainly against and 18.4% think it should not be).

Among Israeli Jews, the proportion of certain respondents against a Palestinian state rises to 44.2% with 19.5% saying they think it should not be agreed to, for a total of 63.7% against.

In contrast, a large majority of Arab Israelis in general (74%) and Israeli Jews identifying with the political left (69%) say they support such an arrangement, while only 32% of Israeli Jews in the center and 14.5% on the right support this sort of deal.

The survey was carried out after Iran’s April 13 missile and drone attack on Israel and before the April 19 retaliatory strike on the Islamic Republic attributed to Jerusalem.

Tehran said that its aerial assault was in revenge for the April 1 killing of a top Quds Force commander in Damascus that the regime blamed on the Jewish state.

An overwhelming 80% majority of Jewish Israeli respondents said that killing the Iranian commander in Damascus was the correct move despite the military response from the mullah regime.

Among Arab Israelis, 67% think it was the wrong course of action, while 45% of Israeli Jews on the left took this stance, underscoring the deep divide between Arabs and left-wing Jews, and the rest of Israeli society (77% of Israeli Jews in the center and 90.5% on the right support the strike).

One area where Israeli Jews and Arabs agree is that after more than six months of war and the exit of most ground forces from Gaza, it is time for those in positions of power responsible for the failure to prevent the Hamas-led invasion of the northwestern Negev on Oct. 7 to resign.

Nearly 62% of the general public are certain or think that the time has come for resignation letters to be submitted.

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(On Monday, Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence Directorate head Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva announced his departure.)

Broken down by ethnicity, 81% of Arabs and 58% of Jews believe that it is time for resignations, while the ideological picture draws a line between Jews on the left and center whose support for resignations reaches above 80%, versus Jews on the political right with only 44% holding the view that those in power on Oct. 7 should resign now.

The phone and internet survey of 612 men and women above the age of 18 (514 in Hebrew and 98 in Arabic) was conducted from April 14 to 17. The maximum sampling error was ±4.04% with a confidence level of 95%.

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