Barack Obama (centre) looks on as Benjamin Netanyahu (left) shakes hands with Mahmoud Abbas before talks in 2009
US President Barack Obama (centre) looks on as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before a trilateral meeting in New York, on September 22, 2009. © Jim Watson - AFP/File
Barack Obama (centre) looks on as Benjamin Netanyahu (left) shakes hands with Mahmoud Abbas before talks in 2009
AFP
Last updated: June 28, 2013

Majority of sceptical Israelis want peace talks

A majority of Israelis support resuming peace talks with the Palestinians, a poll published on Friday said, as US Secretary of State John Kerry presses leaders from both sides to return to negotiations.

The poll in daily Israel Hayom said 56.9 percent believed negotiations should resume, against 28.6 percent who thought they should not.

But there was scepticism over whether talks would achieve anything, with 55.4 percent saying it was not "possible to reach a permanent status arrangement."

And nearly 70 percent were against "gestures" of peace to the Palestinians, such as releasing prisoners and easing movement for Palestinian residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Kerry, on his fifth visit to the region, met late into Thursday night with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his latest bid to revive talks, which broke down nearly three years ago.

He was to meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Friday afternoon in Jordan before heading back to Jerusalem.

The day before Kerry's arrival, an Israeli planning committee granted final approval for the construction of 69 new settler homes in annexed east Jerusalem.

Israeli settlement construction was the issue that scuppered direct peace talks in September 2010 just weeks after they began when Israel failed to renew a freeze on all new West Bank construction.

A cartoon in Arabic-language daily Al-Quds had Kerry arrival in Israel looking dejected as Netanyahu and Israeli pro-settlement Economics Minister Naftali Bennett stood in front of the new settlement, saying "69 new settlement homes welcome you."

The poll of 500 Israeli Jews had a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

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