Moratorium movement

September 30, 2010, 12:08 AM GMT+0

The majority of the British public thinks that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should renew the freeze on Jewish settlers building in the West Bank. However, should the freeze not be renewed, almost half of the Brits polled feel that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas should not withdraw from peace negotiations our survey of 1,622 Brits shows.

The ten month freeze ended at midnight on Sunday, despite calls from the international community (including the US) for the freeze to be extended for the sake of the peace talks.

  • 52% of the British public think that Netanyahu should renew the freeze
  • Compared to just 12% of the population who think it should not be renewed.
  • And 49% of Britons think that Abbas should not withdraw from peace negotiations, even if building is resumed
  • While 15% who think he should quit the talks if building resumes.

Overall, it appears that the sympathies of the British population lie with the Palestinians more than the Israelis.

  • 28% of the population say their sympathies lie with Palestinians, compared to 13% who sympathise more with Israelis.
  • However, a large proportion of the population (42%) remain apathetic, saying their sympathies don’t lie with either side (and a further 17% don’t know).

Direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians began again this month, backed by the US. Jewish settlements in the Palestinian Territories form a key point of contention in the peace process. Around 500,000 Jews are thought to live in over 100 settlements in the West Bank, which are considered illegal under international law.

Hamas, the democratically elected Islamist movement in control of the Gaza Strip, has called for Abbas to withdraw from the peace talks if the ban on building is not renewed. However, Abbas announced there would be ‘no quick reactions’ before he consults with the Arab League next week.

Survey details and full results