Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that there is no option to prevent and cease Qassam fire on Sderot immediately but Israeli Jews think differently.A significant minority of 42 percent favors reoccupying Gaza to stop attacks on Israeli towns, while about 48 percent oppose such move, according to a Peace Index poll, conducted by Tel Aviv University last week.
Limited ground operations of Israeli army in Gaza are supported by 63 percent of the polled only if the army pulls back after a permanent ceasefire is achieved; twenty-eight percent are against such Israeli involvement. The Jewish public is almost evenly split about possible direct negotiations with Hamas on ceasefire with 47 percent supporting and 48 percent opposing bilateral talks.
Also, an overwhelming majority (76 percent) rejects Hamas’s offer to stop bombing Sderot if the Israeli army would relinquish any military attacks such as kidnappings and strikes on civilians and activists in the West Bank, determined the poll.
About 46 percent believe that the government’s reluctance about launching a military attack in Gaza stems from the grave conclusions of the Winograd Committee’s interim report; thirty-nine percent say that the report is not the reason.
The majority of the Jewish public approves increased government spending to restore and improve homes and public institutions in Sderot but few (14 percent) agree to investment in alternative housing for Sderot residents outside the Qassam’s range. Many believe that army’s operations and not government’s diplomacy would solve the issue of Sderot. The Israelis are clearly disenchanted with their political leaders as only half of the polled indicated that in case of early elections they would consider voting.
The Arab segment of the public is clearly against any Israeli military attacks in Gaza, the survey shows. A definite majority supports Hamas-Israeli talks on a mutual ceasefire. Arab populations disagree with Olmert’s pessimism about finding an immediate solution the Sderot conflict. They support a possible trade-off – no Qassam fire on Sderot for no Israeli attacks in the West Bank. Also, more than half of the Arab population is likely to vote in possible early elections, according to the poll.
The surveyors from the B.I. Cohen Institute of Tel Aviv University interviewed 613 adults, representing Jewish and Arab population of Israel.