Israeli analyst finds continued support for peace process

March 30, 2001 10:03 a.m.

A large majority of Israeli Jews continue to support peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, but fewer believe those efforts will succeed, an Israeli public-opinion expert said at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School this week.

Tamar Hermann, director of the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at the Tel Aviv University, which compiles the "Peace Index" measuring Israeli popular opinion, said that almost 70 percent of Israeli Jews believe a separate Palestinian state will exist in the near future.

Most people favor a complete, total separation, effectively putting an "iron wall" between the two states, she said.

"When the Israeli people talk of peace, they are talking of 'negative peace,'" Hermann said. "This, quite simply, is the absence of war and nothing else. No integration of the two states would occur. The public is not blind to the reality of separation, but there is still a great need to discover creative solution to such issues as existing settlements and open borders."

Only Israeli Jews -- about 80 percent of Israel's population -- were sampled for the Peace Index. About 80 percent of those surveyed supported continued negotiations, but only 50 to 60 percent expect them to succeed.

Hermann acknowledged that bombing attacks in Israel this week may have lessened support for peace negotiations among the nation's Jews.

Contact: Justin Harmon (609) 258-3601