A new poll suggests Israelis have shifted politically rightward, and have a more favorable view of the settlement enterprise and settlers in general compared with previous years.
The full findings of the survey, conducted by the Maagar Mohot Institute for Dr. Miriam Billig and Dr. Udi Label of the Ariel University Center of Samaria, will be published on Thursday during a conference organized by the Samaria and the Jordan Rift Regional R&D Center. The poll sampled 568 respondents who live within the Green Line.
According to the poll, 64 percent of respondents said they support continued settlement activity in Judea and Samaria. Only 15% said they would support a full moratorium on settlement construction, down 20% from the previous year.
A sizeable proportion still supports some kind of an Israeli pullout from Judea and Samaria and more than a third (36%) would support a partial or full annexation of the disputed areas, captured during the 1967 Six-Day War. Fourteen percent would like to see the continuation of the current status quo in Judea and Samaria. Forty-two percent say the hilltop youth (who allegedly carry out vandalism against Arabs and IDF troops to protest terrorism and government policy on outposts) are a serious obstacle, with 22% saying settler leaders must have zero tolerance toward that phenomenon and combat other forms of unlawful behavior.
When asked if they would support a unilateral Israeli evacuation of the area without first reaching an agreement with the Palestinians, only 5% said they were in favor.
The researchers note a marked shift in the public's willingness to see an Israeli withdrawal in exchange for full peace compared to past surveys on this issue, with 46% saying they would oppose any territorial concessions, up from 38% in 2009 (the question did not refer to east Jerusalem). About 73% of those who gave an answer said the two-state solution would not further peace or would at most only prevent a short term escalation (up from 64% in 2011).
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's popularity among non-settlers is also on the rise. Last year less than half of respondents (49%) said they would prefer the incumbent premier to represent Israel at the negotiating table and sign a peace agreement with the Palestinians, but this figure climbed to 58% in 2012.
Asked if Netanyahu positively affected U.S. President Barack Obama's policy on settlements, respondents were split down the middle.