From the Financial Times:

Seventy-four per cent of Jewish settlers living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would be willing to leave their homes in return for compensation from the Israeli government as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians, according to an opinion poll published on Wednesday. The poll’s findings contrast with the harsh rhetoric of settler leaders, who have vowed to resist strenuously any attempts to evacuate them. Under the US-backed road map to peace, Israel is supposed to freeze new building construction in the territories occupied since the 1967 war and dismantle unauthorized outposts erected since March 2001.

Ron HaCohen made the point last year that American Jews wanting to help Israeli settlers in the long run would be better off donating money to make up for the heavy financial incentives (only increased under Barak) that push the non-ideological majority of them into the occupied territories (sometimes directly from diaspora, as in the case of the 70 lower class Peruvians who last year were converted as a group to Judaism and shipped into the West Bank), and make it infeasible or impossible for them to leave. This is also the thrust behind Brit Tzedek v’Shalom’s “Call to Bring the Settlers Home,” which will collect signatures through this coming Yom Ha’atzmaut. This poll reinforces what has been clear for a long time – that it is, often, not settlers who force the hand of the government (as many on the left suggest), but rather the government that forces the hands of the settlers. Still, this poll, like the one demonstrating that the significant majority of Palestinian refugees would accept a settlement in which they are relocated, if they desire, somewhere else outside of the Green Line, is good news for those seeking an eventual just settlement for both sides.

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