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Poll: Most Jewish Israelis think Arab citizens support terrorism

A new poll suggests regular people are now viewing everyone in the ‘other’ ethnic-national group as a violent threat. Is that an indication of the national conflict becoming an ethnic one?

Illustrative photo of Israelis taking a shooting class in a Jerusalem gun shop, October 15, 2015. A number of Israeli leaders have called on citizens to arm themselves in response to a wave of Palestinian stabbing attacks, and the owner of this shop reported an increase in demand for personal weapons. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Illustrative photo of Israelis taking a shooting class in a Jerusalem gun shop, October 15, 2015. A number of Israeli leaders have called on citizens to arm themselves in response to a wave of Palestinian stabbing attacks, and the owner of this shop reported an increase in demand for personal weapons. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Over three-quarters of Israeli Jews believe that either some (37 percent), most (33 percent)  or all (8 percent) Arab Israelis support the terror of recent weeks, according to a poll published by Israeli news site Maariv on Thursday. Just one-fifth (19 percent) of Jews said that “only a minority (of Arab citizens) support it and the majority oppose” the violence. The wording reflects how the survey was reported in Maariv; the Jewish sample included 503 respondents and a 4.3 percent margin of error; the Arab sample was 304 respondents, with a 5.2 percent margin of error.

The dramatic numbers reflect what I believe is a dangerous shift in the nature of the conflict. The fighting was once primarily over statehood, borders, territory, resources with embedded layers of identity, religion and ethnicity. Now regular people are committing violence primarily based on ethnic or national identity. The survey shows that Jews view anyone associated with the other ethnic-national group as prepared to commit violence against them.

The individual Palestinian attacks on civilians are a statement that for those regular Palestinians – not just members of terror organizations – Jews rather than just soldiers, are targets.

When regular people view all other regular people of the other group as a violent threat or target, it is open ethnic conflict.

Mass hostilities that characterize ethnic conflict are driven by rumor. The very idea that 78 percent of Jews broadly see Arab citizens as supporting the terror helps fuel the violent attacks that have been committed against Arabs in recent weeks.

But only two Palestinian citizens out of 1.7 million living inside Israel proper have actually been involved in attacking Israeli Jews. One brandished a knife, not actually stabbing anyone, before she was shot and wounded by security forces in Afula. Palestinians in East Jerusalem who received citizenship are not included in this count, since their lives and experiences are radically different from those who grew up as part of Israel.

The survey shows further indications that Israeli Jews view their fellow citizens who are Arab as inextricable from the violence. Over six in ten (61 percent) support an economic boycott against all Arab citizens of Israel despite the fact that only one in 750,000, way fewer than 99.9 percent, have committed no violence against other Israelis.

Nearly one-third of Israeli Jews (30 percent) say they have become more right-wing during the violence, a political attitude that in recent years is heavily associated with anti-Arab sentiment, not just hardline attitudes regarding negotiations and concessions.

How do Arab Palestinian citizens feel in the midst of the violence and hostility? Fully two-thirds (65 percent) of the Arab respondents of the survey – citizens of Israel – said they don’t feel safe in Jewish communities in Israel (the word “yishuvim” describes anything from a city to a town or small community). In other words, most Arabs don’t feel safe in most of the country.

Many feel leaderless: fewer than half, 41 percent, feel the Arab parliamentarians don’t represent them. Forty percent think the MKs do represent them – an even split. One reason has to do with the fact that Arab MKs inevitably disappoint them. Palestinians of Israel commonly believe that Arab parliamentarians have no real power; Arab parties on their own have never been part of the executive branch, Israel’s governing coalition.

However, it is notable that when asked about what kind of political framework they would like to live in, the strong majority of Arabs chose something reflecting a two-state solution: 11 percent cited “Israel as it is now,” 48 percent – the strong plurality – prefers Israel within the pre-’67 borders next to an independent Palestinian state – for a total of 59 percent.

Another 14 percent choose a single bi-national state, and an eight-percent minority opted for a state that is part of a larger Islamic caliphate. Nearly one in five (19 percent) gave no answer.

From my conversations with Palestinian-Arab citizens, this reflects a very widespread approach perhaps underrepresented in the survey: that there is nothing worth hoping for by way of political solutions, and that the whole situation is hopeless.

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    1. Ben

      “Over six in ten (61 percent) support an economic boycott against all Arab citizens of Israel”

      But for the very same 61 percent the very idea of boycotting the settlements is abhorrent!, outrageous!, antisemitic! Of course!

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Fancy that. We react to our own murder and stabbings and we favor ourselves instead of them. How Jewish of us. Most other people would side with those who stab and murder them.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          Oh and about the “settlements” Benny has now come clean now, on another thread. He supports a “democratic secular” Palestine to replace Israel. In other words, he has now thrown his lot in with those who claim that Israel within the green line too is nothing but a settlement.

          PS
          I support motherhood and apple pie too. And an end to world hunger…

          …in the meanwhile though I look at what happened in Rwanda, Yugoslavia and even in the Lebanese civil war and all I can do is shake my head in disbelief when I see people advocating such solutions for us.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Well, there you go. The far right extremist is never far from the surface. Gustav, whose real home would appear to be the far right corners of Yisrael Beitenu and Habayit Hayehudi, supports boycotting Arab citizens as Arabs. Frank, ethnic/race-based boycott.

            But… boycotting settlers as settlers is… Anti-Semitic! A First Class Outrage! Natch.

            Can you spell out “narcissistic entitlement”? We just did.

            It’s time to reiterate something I’ve already said to you, Gustav. You have tried to shift the center of the discourse very far rightwards and pretend that +972 is a forum for discussing the merits of a far right agenda. I will not participate. Go elsewhere for that. Or go here (no one is banning you) but don’t nag us to “refute” incessant propaganda that has so many false assumptions embedded in it before one even gets to the point that one hardly knows where to begin. That is, real dialogue on that basis is not possible. Only an interminable, shallow sparring match that never goes anywhere. And do not put words in my mouth about what I support and who I’ve thrown my lot in with. It’s quite dishonest and manipulative.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            First of all, Benny, I have said nothing of what you attribute to me.

            Second of all, whatever I advocate or don’t advocate is by far more reasonable compared to what you advocate.

            You advocate terrorism against us in order to “wake us up from our complacency”.

            And what is that famous complacency of ours? It is that we refuse to fall into the trap which leftist extremists like you want us to fall into. You want us to give up strategic lands without at least expecting your darling Palestinian Arabs to renounce their past policies of aggression against us.

            Or worse, to agree to live in your mythical one state solution as a minority coz you promise that nothing bad will happen to us.

            Well, Benny dear, why don’t you mind your own business? I mean you wouldn’t be listening to me either if I’d tell you to throw yourself under a bus for your own good. Sheeeeeesh, what can one say.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            And if you insist that a one state solution absolutely must be a Yugoslavia then get out of the territories and that includes occupied East Jerusalem! You can’t have your settler cake and eat it too and then incessantly whine about the consequences. The world is fed up with that.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BEN:”And if you insist that a one state solution absolutely must be a Yugoslavia”

            I don’t insist on it. I know that it would be even worse than Yugoslavia both for us and them.

            Hey Benny where I come from, if we see two kids viciously fighting each other, we separate them not shut them in a room and let them fight it out to the death.

            BEN:”then get out of the territories”

            What, without them even renouncing their policies of agression against us?

            BEN:”and that includes occupied East Jerusalem!”

            You mean the East Jerusalem which has a two milennia old Jewish quarter? You mean the Jerusalem which had a Jewish majority since the 1850s? Why are your Palestinian Arabs more entitled to it than we are? Coz you extreme leftists and Muslim Arabs claim it? Nah, we claim it too. Your claim against our claim. Sue us Benny.

            BEN:”You can’t have your settler cake and eat it too and then incessantly whine about the consequences. The world is fed up with that”

            And you can’t ride rough shod over us. We will do whatever is necessary to prevent your Arabs from eradincating the only Jewish state in the world and replacing it by the 23rd Arab Muslim state or a Caliphate. Trust me Benny, a lot of bad things will happen to those who want to harm us.

            Reply to Comment

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