WASHINGTON (CBS DC/AP) — Nearly three-quarters of Israeli Jews believe the Americans are applying more pressure on Israel than the Palestinians to accept a potential US framework agreement, and almost two-thirds of both Jewish and Arab Israelis say they don’t trust U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with Israel’s security.
The newest monthly Peace Index poll released by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) and Tel Aviv University finds that a majority of Jewish and Israeli Arabs distrust American efforts to take the country’s security into account in the U.S. framework agreement expected to be revealed next month.
Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of both Jewish Israelis and Arab Israelis — 66 percent and 53 percent, respectively — do not trust Kerry to take Israel’s security into account as a crucial factor in the framework agreement, while only about one-third of both groups do trust Kerry to account for the country’s security.
The survey conducted last Monday and Tuesday of 603 representative respondents revealed that 61 percent of Jewish Israelis and 56 percent of Israeli Arabs believe that Kerry’s primary motivation for reaching a framework agreement is his personal interest in making history as a statesman taking on a conflict where many others have failed to achieve any lasting success.
And nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of Israeli Jews believe the Americans are more strongly pressuring Israel to accept the terms than the Palestinians.
Only 22 percent of Israeli Jews and 16 percent of Arab Israelis said Kerry is equally motivated by honest concern for both factions.
The poll results findings of Israeli skepticism come just days after Arab foreign ministers rejected Israel’s demands that the Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish state, arguing that such a move would undermine the rights of Palestinian refugees.
In a resolution released at the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo, the foreign ministers called the issue of Palestinian refugees an integral part of a comprehensive and just peace. It blamed Israel for the floundering of peace negotiations.
In the January 2014 Peace Index also released by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, 77 percent of Israeli Jews said they believe the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
But the Arab statement offers strong backing to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who said publicly last week he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state despite facing strong international pressure. Abbas did not identify who is pressuring him.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state to show they are serious about peace. It was the latest sign that despite seven months of mediation efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, wide gaps remain between the two sides.
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