In Brief: Israelis back talks with Palestinians and settlement freeze

Photo: Crown Copyright, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

More than half of the Israeli public would like to see a meeting between prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to a poll commissioned by the Geneva Initiative Israel NGO.

When asked whether Israel should enter political talks with the PA, 52.8 percent said yes, while 31.1 percent said no.

Nearly half of the Likud voters surveyed supported such a meeting, while 36.2 percent opposed.

The poll also found that almost two thirds of Israelis – 64.2 percent – were prepared to accept a freeze on construction of settlements in the West Bank as part of a normalisation agreement with Saudi Arabia.

Such a deal was supported by 60.9 percent of Likud voters, 82.4 percent of Yesh Atid voters, and 96.1 percent of Labor voters.

The polling was conducted in the first month of Israel’s new coalition government led by Netanyahu with the support of hard-right parties.

The findings suggest that Israelis remain considerably more practical with regard to the conflict then their leadership suggest – with ministers openly disparaging the PA in recent weeks.
Cooperation between Israel and the PA is among the most significant guarantors of Israel’s security.