Israelis who live west of the Green Line are increasingly less supportive of the Jewish settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria than they were in previous years, according to a new Ariel University poll. According to the poll, the number of Israelis who characterize themselves as right wing dropped from 57% in 2012 to 48% in this year's poll.
The poll was commissioned by Dr. Miriam Billig and Dr. Udi Lebel ahead of the 23rd annual Judea and Samaria Research Conference, scheduled for Thursday.
The polling was done by Maagar Mochot. The respondents comprise a representative sample of 587 Israeli Jewish adults from inside the Green Line (Israel's pre-1967 border with Jordan). The margin of error is 4.5%.
According to the poll, a majority of respondents (53%) support a full or partial withdrawal from Judea and Samaria as part of an agreement with the Palestinian Authority. Thirty percent support a full or partial annexation of Judea and Samaria and 13% think the status quo should be maintained. Only 4% believe Israel should conduct a unilateral withdrawal from all or parts of Judea and Samaria, without an agreement with the Palestinians.
Some 35% said they support the dismantlement of many or all Jewish communities in exchange for a peace agreement than ends the conflict with the Palestinians. This was up from 22% in a similar 2012 poll and 14% in 2011, a significant increase.
Some 52% of respondents said Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria represent true Zionism, and 46% felt settlements provide a security buffer for the rest of Israel. But both these figures were lower than in 2012.
Sixty percent said the settlers are not the source of the conflict with the Palestinians, but there was an increase in the number of respondents, 53%, who said that settlers were an obstacle to peace.
And 43% said Judea and Samaria communities were not a waste of state funds, while 39% said the settlements were a waste of public funds, an increase from last year's 24%.
As was the case in past surveys, most of the respondents said Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria hurt Israel-U.S. relations, compared with 33% who said they had no impact. Only 10 percent said settlers' enhance those relations.
Seventy percent of those surveyed said the conflict with the Palestinians had more to do with national and religious issues over the question of whether Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state than to a dispute over territories. This is consistent with past surveys.
Israelis consider a Palestinian pledge to end hostilities as the most important aspect in any future peace deal that entails territorial concessions.
Only 13% of respondents think a two-state solution will bring an end to the conflict (compared to 11% in 2012 and 16% in 2011), and 20% of respondents said it would prevent an escalation for a long period of time.
Some 67% of respondents said a two-state solution would prevent further escalation over the short run (compared with 73% in 2012, 64% in 2011, 71% in 2010 and 74% in 2009).
A majority (68%) would oppose having Jewish settlements remain under Palestinian control, while 38% said they would agree to such an arrangement. Views on this issue are consistent with past polls.
Some 37% believe that the settler leadership currently needs to fight uncompromisingly against the hilltop youth and other Jewish lawbreakers in Judea and Samaria, up from 15% last year, while 25% want Israel to unveil a new proposal to renew the peace process, up from 8% last year.
According to the survey, the principal factors preventing the wider public from identifying with the settlers are: the hilltop youth (53% of those who answered the question listed them as the reason they did not identify with the settlers); the religious extremism expressed in Judea and Samaria rabbis' rulings on matters pertaining to women (50% of those who answered the question refrain from identifying with the settlers for this reason). Both of these factors were similar to last year's poll.
Most of those who answered (58%) agree on the need to legislate the requirement to hold a national referendum prior to the signing of any peace deal that includes the ceding of land.
Half of those who answered (50%) agree that in light of national budget cuts, funds allotted to the settlements should be frozen. Only about one-third (36%) of those who answered agree that construction in areas deemed to be of strategic importance, for which municipal permits have already been granted, should be expedited, such as in the E1 zone between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim.