According to a new poll of just over 500 respondents, more than half of Israeli citizens would vote in favor of a peace deal if it came to a referendum, the Forward reports. The poll, conducted by Tel Aviv University and the Dialog Institute, revealed that 39 percent of those polled would be in favor of “any” peace plan.
The poll was conducted four days after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement last Friday that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians would resume. Following that announcement, Netanyahu, under pressure from his right-wing coalition partners, pledged that he would bring any peace deal to a referendum.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that a referendum is imperative for any “diplomatic solution,” the Times of Israel reports.
“A national referendum prevents national division,” he added. “Peace with our neighbors requires peace among ourselves, and that’s achieved through a referendum.”
Naftali Bennett, Israeli Economy Minster and chairman of the pro-settlement Jewish Home party, made it clear, however, that settlement building would continue, JTA reports.
“We will continue building, and you will see this soon,” Bennett said Tuesday in Shiloh, an Israeli West Bank settlement, according to the Times of Israel. “I am sending the message from here to all the parties in the negotiations: The land of Israel belongs to the nation of Israel.”
The continuation of settlement building is in direct opposition to Palestinian demands for peace talks.