Poll shows most Israelis have
little hope for Trump peace plan

By Times of Israel Staff and Agencies | USA Today | July 2, 2018

US President Donald Trump listens while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the press prior to their meeting at the Palace Hotel in New York City ahead of the United Nations General Assembly on September 18, 2017. (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)
US President Donald Trump listens while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the press prior to their meeting at the
Palace Hotel in New York City ahead of the United Nations General Assembly on September 18, 2017. (AFP Photo/Brendan
Smialowski)

Israelis have little hope that a peace proposal expected to be unveiled soon by US President Donald Trump's administration will succeed, according to a public opinion poll released Monday.

The survey by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University indicated that nearly three-quarters of respondents think the plan has a very low or moderately low chance of success. The survey did not ask respondents why they think so.

The skepticism comes despite warm feelings for Trump by both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli public.

The poll found that 77 percent of respondents think Israel's interests are important to Trump and more than 60% think the Palestinians' interests are not important to him.

Shortly after taking office, Trump dispatched his Mideast team to the region in a bid to forge what he has called the "ultimate" deal between Israel and the Palestinians. The US administration has said it will present its vision for peace soon.

Any peace plan would face major obstacles, including the increasingly dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, internal Palestinian divisions, and recent cross-border violence between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel. Attempts to strike a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians faltered most recently in 2014, and with the Palestinians accusing Trump of being biased against them, hopes for peace on both sides are sliding.

The poll found that while more than half of respondents supported peace talks with the Palestinians, less than one-fifth believed such negotiations would lead to peace in the coming years.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, speaks during a meeting with the Palestinian Central Council, a top decision-making body, at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, January 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, speaks during a meeting with the Palestinian Central Council, a top decision-making body, at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, January 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
The Palestinians have cut ties with the Trump administration since the US president recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and then moved the embassy there in May. They remain deeply skeptical of any plan pushed by the administration, which they see as unfairly favoring Israel. It remains unclear how the Trump administration would proceed with a peace plan without Palestinian cooperation.

The Palestinians seek the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and two years later, the Hamas terror group seized control of the Strip from forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas now governs only autonomous zones in the West Bank.

Israelis, and especially Netanyahu, have seen a champion in Trump, who has supported the country at the United Nations, nixed a nuclear deal with Iran and moved the embassy, a promise previous presidents have campaigned on but never fulfilled.

The poll, which had a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points, surveyed 600 Jewish and Arab respondents.