Middle East

Israelis approve discrimination if West Bank annexed: poll

A religious Jewish man uses his mobile phone to take a picture of the Western Wall plaza (unseen) near the Dome of the Rock mosque (L) located in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound (unseen) in Jerusalem's old city. (AFP PHOTO /AHMAD GHARABLI)

JERUSALEM: Most Israeli Jews would support the state discriminating against the country's Arab minority if it formally annexed the occupied West Bank, according to a survey published Tuesday by Haaretz newspaper.

At least 59 percent of Israeli Jews think their fellow believers should have preference over Arabs for public sector jobs, and 49 percent that the state should treat Jews better than Arabs, according to the findings.

In addition, 42 percent of Israeli Jews would not want to share an apartment building with Arabs, and the same amount would not want their children to attend the same schools as Arabs.

Sixty-nine percent of Jews in Israel would oppose giving the 2.5 million Palestinians from the West Bank the right to vote in Israel, if the region was claimed by Israel.

Finally, in a question disregarding the possible annexation of the West Bank, 47 percent of Jews said they would support a transfer of some of the Israeli Arabs (1.3 million people) to the Palestinian Authority-controlled territory.

The survey was conducted by telephone in September by the Dialog institute headed by Professor Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University, on a representative sample of 503 Jewish adults in Israel.

Faced with an ongoing standstill in the peace process, the option of an Israeli takeover of all or part of the West Bank is gaining ground among some in Israeli politics.

A single Jewish-Arab state was among the Palestine Liberation Organisation's demands until the 1980s.

This strategy was abandoned by the Palestinians, who now want an independent state on territories Israel took from Jordan in June 1967: the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.





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