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Most Israeli Jews do not back settlement activities: Study

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A general view shows buildings under construction in the illegal Israeli settlement of Har Homa in East al-Quds (Jerusalem), March 7, 2016. ©AFP

A new survey has found out that most Israeli Jews do not agree with right-wing claims that expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank helps Israel’s security.

The results of the study, which is conducted by the US–based Pew Research Center, showed that 30 percent of Jewish Israeli respondents thought "the settlements hurt Israel's security,” while 25 percent of them said the settlements do not make a difference regarding security.

Forty-two percent of those Israeli Jews polled, meanwhile, expressed support for continued building of West Bank settlements.

The study further showed that 62 percent of the respondents who identified themselves as being on the right said settlements bolster security while only 13 percent of those on the left agreed with the claim.

The survey was published on Tuesday with the US institute saying that it was conducted via face-to-face interviews with more than 5,600 Israeli adults from October 2014 through May 2015.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has time and again voiced support for settlement construction activities in the occupied West Bank, in defiance of international calls on the Tel Aviv regime to end its illegal expansionist moves.

His right-wing coalition draws much of its support from the powerful settlement lobby that alleges the ring of illegal settlements south and east of al-Quds (Jerusalem) and across the West Bank is important for the security of Israelis.

The United Nations and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because they are built on territories captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.

The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for efforts to establish peace in the Middle East. The Palestinian Authority wants the West Bank as part of its future independent state, with East al-Quds as its capital.

Protesters, most of them Palestinians, hold a banner during a demonstration against Israeli settlements and the closing of al-Shuhada Street on February 20, 2016 in the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron). ©AFP

More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

Meanwhile, based on the Pew survey’s findings, Arab Israelis, who account for 20 percent of the Israeli population, overwhelmingly believe that Muslims were discriminated against by the Jewish majority.

"Roughly eight in 10 Israeli Arabs (79 percent) say there is a lot of discrimination in Israeli society against Muslims, who are by far the biggest of the religious minorities," it said.

However, 74 percent of Jews took the opposite view, saying that they do not see much discrimination against Muslims.

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