It is hardly a surprise that most Israeli settlers oppose any talk of further withdrawals from the West Bank. The evacuation from Gaza two years ago, has strengthened their resolve and provided “evidence” to back up their claim that withdrawal doesn’t work: the endless rocket attacks on Sderot are held up as proof that the Palestinians don’t want peace and the infighting in Gaza is shown as evidence that the Palestinians are incapable of ruling themselves.
But it is not just the settlers who have no faith in the land-for-peace ideal. Ordinary centrist Israelis – those who supported withdrawal in 2005 – have also had their belief shattered by the fallout from Palestinian autonomy in Gaza. Recent Haaretz polls indicate that while 70% of Israelis favour a two-state solution, only 39% believe that this is possible in the near future. Thus while a great deal of progress has been made in the normalisation of the concept of a Palestinian state in the last 30 years or so, the Israeli public are still a long way from believing that it is presently achievable.