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Israelis pessimistic over peace process

Jan. 25, 2014 10:28 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 25, 2014 10:28 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- An overwhelming majority of Israelis think current peace talks with the Palestinians will not lead to an agreement, according to a poll published on Saturday.

A huge 87 percent of respondents answered "no" when asked if they thought the negotiations would result in a peace deal.

Only seven percent said "yes," according to the survey conducted by Shiluv Millward Brown and broadcast on the privately owned Channel 2 television.

The deadline of the nine-month framework for US-brokered direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians is the end of April with no visible results, as both sides express seemingly irreconcilable demands.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who has made 11 trips to Israel and the West Bank in his first year in office, is trying to hammer out a framework deal to chart the talks going forward by establishing guidelines on the most contentious issues.

One such issue would be the future of Jerusalem, which Israel considers its "eternal and undivided" capital, while the Palestinians envision the annexed eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

According to the poll, 63 percent think Israel should not relinquish east Jerusalem, compared with 26 percent who said it should.

More than three quarters of those asked (77 percent) firmly backed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state -- a demand they dismiss.

Just 17 percent of Israelis thought this unnecessary.

Asked whether Kerry was a fair broker, 38 percent said he was "biased in favor of the Palestinians" while 27 percent said his conduct was "fair."

Only two percent said he was pro-Israel, and 32 percent did not have a view on the question.

The survey was conducted among 502 respondents with a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.
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