JERUSALEM – A scientific poll allegedly suppressed in Israel last month has found a plurality of Israelis favor transferring the Palestinian population out of Israel instead of implementing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to withdraw Jewish settlements from Gaza and parts of the West Bank this summer, WorldNetDaily has learned.
The poll was commissioned by Mishalot Yisrael, a group formed to assess public opinion with regard to the withdrawal, and was conducted Jan. 12 with Mutagim, a major Israeli polling company.
Israelis were asked whether they “prefer the ‘Sharon/Peres Disengagement Plan’ which includes transferring Gaza and Northern Shomron to Palestinian control, and expulsion of all Jews who live there – a move that would bring Palestinian territory closer to major Israeli cities such as Ashkelon and Tel Aviv. Or do you prefer the ‘Jewish Alternative Disengagement Plan,’ which includes annexing these territories and expulsion of the Arabs living there to an area outside Israel, deep beyond a safe security buffer zone – a move that would effectively distance the Palestinian population from major Israeli cities like Ashkelon and Tel Aviv?”
The results showed 38 percent of the general Israeli population said they favor the mass transfer of Palestinians, while 37 percent favor Sharon’s withdrawal plan, according to the poll.
But Mutagim refused to release the survey results, claiming a question was entered late and the company was only able to interview 397 people instead of the 511 originally planned. The company offered to conduct another survey for free.
Yekutiel Ben Yaacov, director of Mishalot Yisroel, told WND he demanded the poll results be released. In a conversation taped by Ben Yaacov because he says he suspected foul play, Mutagim market researcher Uri Pancier allegedly admits the results may be accurate and discusses his reluctance to release them.
An independent polling company told WND the survey of 397 people, if conducted appropriately, would still be accurate and would only increase the margin of error by 0.5 to 1 percent.
A second poll conducted by Mutagim, this time including 499 people, found 49 percent of the general Israeli population supports the Gaza withdrawal, while 27 percent favor the transfer of Palestinians. A third Mutagim survey, conducted earlier this month with 509 people, had 39 percent for Sharon’s withdrawal, and 31 percent for Palestinian transfer. Both polls were released to Mishalot Yisroel.
A second Israeli polling company, Geocartography, was also commissioned to conduct the same poll, and found 44 percent in favor of Sharon’s plan, 31 percent for Palestinian transfer.
But Ben Yaacov says he is upset the first poll, which found a plurality for the alternate plan, has not been released.
“The polling companies are afraid. They don’t want to put anything out that shows the Israeli people would rather kick out the Palestinians and not evacuate the Jews,” said Ben Yaacov.
Indeed, another Israeli polling company, Dahav Institute, refused to conduct the survey all together.
Veteran Israeli pollster and Dahav head Dr. Mina Tzemach told WorldNetDaily, “Yes, I refused to do it. The so-called alternative plan is unrealistic, immoral and it will never happen. Such ideas are damaging to the state of Israel.”
Pancier made similar comments in the past. He told the Jerusalem Post in December his company is generally wary of surveys involving what he calls the right-wing community, as they tend to use results to express ideological opinions.
“Israelis are not racist,” Pancier told WND. “Sure, people are accepting this Arab transfer as a theoretical option when asked in a poll, but if you ask them whether they believe it can happen, most will say no. This plan is not reality, it can’t happen.”
Ben Yaacov says he’s aware of the controversial implications of the Palestinian transfer plan.
“Some say this is apartheid against the Arabs. But actually I got the idea from Ariel Sharon, who wants to remove the Jews in Gaza and the West Bank. I’m just applying the same concept to hostile Palestinians. As far as I am concerned, Arabs that are loyal can remain in our territories without any problems.”
Ben Yaacov says his group plans to conduct a nationwide referendum in Israel pitting his plan against Sharon’s. “Our goal is to get a bigger voter turnout at our referendum than there is in national Israeli elections,” said Ben Yaacov.
Last week, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom broke ranks with Sharon and announced he too will lead a push for a national referendum.
Ben Yaacov discounted earlier survey’s on the Gaza withdrawal, explaining “they offered people no alternative. It was either you favor Sharon’s withdrawal or things remain the same. Now we are offering another plan – Palestinian evacuation.”
Andras Bereny, a key member of the Italian referendum party and a former candidate for the Italian Senate who helped pass over four referendum packages in Italy, has joined forces with Ben Yaacov and will assist in conducting an initial survey in select Israeli towns.
Bereny calls the referendum important and says it will contribute to “determining the destiny of the Jewish people.”