Poll: Vast majority of Israelis prefer sovereignty in Jerusalem over peace deal

A new poll shows that the vast majority of Israelis would oppose a peace deal granting the Palestinians partial or full sovereignty over the Old City of Jerusalem.

While it is often reported that most Israelis favor a two-state solution as the way to achieve peace, an entirely different picture emerges once Jerusalem is added to the equation, a new survey shows.

The poll, commissioned by the Israel Hayom daily, found that 67 percent of Israelis would oppose a peace deal granting the Palestinians partial sovereignty over the Old City of Jerusalem.

Opposition to a peace deal rose to 84 percent if it allows the Palestinians full sovereignty over the Old City.

Only 5 percent said they would support a deal that ends Jewish sovereignty over the Kotel, the Western Wall.

“Partial sovereignty” means the Old City’s Jewish Quarter would remain in Israeli hands, while the other quarters or most of their area would be under Palestinian control; under this scenario, Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall would not include sovereignty over the entire Temple Mount.

The survey contrasts sharply with the results of a poll released last week by Israel’s Channel 2, which showed 47 percent of Israelis would support a peace deal based on the pre-1967 borders, with land swaps preserving the large community blocs in Judea and Samaria.

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Following the Channel 2 poll, some on the Israeli political left claimed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is out of step with the electorate. The television network’s poll, however, did not address the status of the Old City.

The proponents of Jerusalem’s “division” assume the Palestinians would agree to the idea of partial sovereignty, but anyone familiar with Palestinian rhetoric knows they find the notion unacceptable, Israel Hayom explained.

“A Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital” does not refer only to Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods but also implies, in Palestinian discourse, Palestinian sovereignty over the Old City in its entirety. In fact, in Palestinian political discourse, sovereignty over the Temple Mount implies sovereignty not just on the upper compound but also over the Western Wall itself and the other walls.

In total, 95 percent of the Israeli public, Arab and Jewish,  would oppose a peace deal that had the Western Wall and the rest of the Old City under Palestinian sovereignty.

The Israel Hayom poll also showed that very few Israelis believe peace will be achieved in the near future. When asked if they believe there is a chance of reaching a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the near future, 75 percent of Israelis said they did not believe so.

The poll surveyed a sample of 502 Israeli adults from the Arab and Jewish sectors and has a margin of error of 4.3 percent.

By: JNS.org and World Israel News Staff