Many Liberals decry Israel’s treatment of the Arab population. Even though they have full rights as a citizen, etc. NGO’s and the press, all of those “fine unbiased organizations” say that Israeli Arabs get treated as second class citizens. Funny thing happed on the way to the Israel bashing… in a new poll conducted by Keevoon, an Israeli research and strategic communications company, almost 2/3 of all Israeli Arabs say given the choice they would prefer to stay in Israel…only 14% preferred a new Palestinian state. Aaron Klien picks up the story:
Israeli Arabs: Count us out of Palestinian state
Majority would rather remain under Jewish leadership
By Aaron Klein
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert JERUSALEM – If given the option of living in a future Palestinian state, most Israeli Arabs would prefer to remain citizens of Israel, according to a new survey released this week.
Arabs make up about 20 percent of Israel’s population, with a large concentration living in eastern Jerusalem, including in peripheral neighborhoods Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government has stated could be given to the Palestinians for a future state.
Last month, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni hinted Israeli Arabs living in eastern Jerusalem could remain there and be ruled by a new Palestinian state.
“The future Palestinian state would serve as a national solution for the Palestinians of the West Bank, those living in the refugee camps and those who are citizens with equal rights in the Jewish state,” stated Livni at a November press conference with France’s foreign minister.
But a new poll conducted by Keevoon, an Israeli research and strategic communications company, found the majority of Israeli Arabs – 62 percent – don’t want to live under Palestinian rule.
Only 14 percent of respondents said they would prefer to live in a Palestinian state and not Israel if given the choice, while 24 percent did not express an opinion or refused to answer.
Mitchell Barak, managing director of Keevoon, told WND, “The survey challenges the widely held claim that Israeli Arabs have national aspirations for statehood. Most expressed a desire to remain Israeli when given a choice.”
Barak said the results “also demonstrated a gap between policies articulated by the Israeli government and the citizens it would affect most – Israeli Arabs.”
“While senior members of the government here, including Livni, have spoken openly about a future Palestinian state possibly including Israeli Arabs who live in Israel, most Israeli Arabs prefer to remain Israeli citizens,” Barak said.
Keevoon’s survey found the strongest support for remaining citizens of Israel was exhibited by members of the Druze Arab community, 84 percent of whom rejected the notion of living in a Palestinian state. Lower-income Arab households also showed strong support, with 71 percent choosing Israel.
The strongest support for becoming citizens of a future Palestinian state was demonstrated by Arab students, with 21 percent, compared to the overall average of 14 percent, according to the poll.
The survey was conducted about a month after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert committed at November’s U.S.-sponsored Annapolis summit to aim at concluding an agreement with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas by next year. The Jewish state is widely expected to evacuate swaths of the strategic West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem, handing the territories to Abbas for a Palestinian state.
Israeli officials in recent months listed specific eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods Israel may evacuate.
In a speech in early November, Olmert asked whether it was “really necessary” to retain certain Arab neighborhoods in the eastern parts of Judaism’s capital city.
“Was it necessary to also add the Shuafat refugee camp, Sawakra, Walaje and other villages and define them as part of Jerusalem? On that, I must confess, I am not convinced,” stated Olmert, speaking at a special Knesset session.
Just this week, Olmert indicated Jerusalem could be split, stating in an interview with the Jerusalem Post that the world that is “friendly” to Israel insists on dividing the city.
Previous Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, including U.S.-mediated talks at Camp David in 2000, agreed to sections of Jerusalem being split according to population demographics, with Israeli Arab neighborhoods becoming part of a Palestinian state.
After Annapolis, Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon stated any future division of Jerusalem would be mapped out along the same lines.
“We must come today and say, friends, the Jewish neighborhoods [of Jerusalem], including Har Homa, will remain under Israeli sovereignty, and the Arab neighborhoods will be the Palestinian capital, which they will call Jerusalem or whatever they want,” Ramon said.
Since Annapolis, Israeli media reports marked an increase in Israeli Arab clients enlisting Jerusalem real estate companies to relocate to Jewish sections of Jerusalem.