Sixty-three percent of Israelis oppose Israel withdrawing from the Jordan Valley, even if international forces take on responsibility for Israel’s security along the West Bank, a recent poll revealed.
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) commissioned the poll from Mina Tzemach, the noted pollster who is with Midgam. She surveyed 588 Israelis.
JCPA president Dore Gold, a former adviser to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, said his organization had sponsored the poll in response to various press reports on the subject.
The poll also showed that 74% of Israeli Jews were against having international forces in the Jordan Valley, rather than the IDF.
The current US administration has proposed that international forces be installed in the Jordan Valley as part of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
Israel maintains that there must be an IDF presence on the Jordanian border, but the Palestinian Authority rejects the idea of having any Israeli forces in the West Bank.
A likely explanation for an overwhelming majority of Israelis opposing the deployment of international forces in the Jordan Valley, Gold said, is the United Nations’ historical inability to defend Israel’s borders.
Gold noted that the Six Day War followed the UN Emergency Force’s evacuation of the Sinai Peninsula because then-Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser had ordered the force to leave. The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) also failed to prevent the First and Second Lebanon Wars and Hezbollah’s rearmament, he said, and much of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which is in the Golan Heights to maintain the cease-fire between Syria and Israel, has requested to leave as well.
According to the poll, 63% of Israelis also oppose NATO forces in the Jordan Valley.
Gold was surprised that “the aura of NATO as the powerful force that blocked the spread of the Soviet military on the European continent is no longer the perception of people around the world.”
Especially because of Afghanistan, the image of “NATO as representing Western security has changed,” he said.
Besides the issue of the Jordan Valley, the poll showed that over 70% percent of Israelis were against dividing Jerusalem and transferring the Temple Mount to the Palestinians.
All of these results are roughly the same as those of a December 2012 poll the Dahaf Institute conducted, which suggests that the peace negotiations in the last year have not caused Israeli public opinion to fluctuate.