Six out of 10 Israelis need peace more than Jerusalem

Six out of 10 Israeli Jews would be willing to give up Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem as part of a final peace deal with the Palestinians, but few would give up the Old City, site of Judaism's holiest shrine, the Western Wall, according to a survey published Thursday. Thirty-six percent of the 500 Israeli Jews surveyed nationwide by the Tazpit Research Institute weren't willing to make any territorial concessions in the disputed city, which both Israel and the Palestinians claim as their capital. The findings reflect an overwhelming belief among those surveyed that Jerusalem should have a large Jewish majority, Tazpit director Aharon Fein said: 95.3 percent think a sizable Jewish majority in the city is very important, according to the results of the poll, which had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

Having completed its historic Gaza Strip withdrawal over the summer, Israel is now planning new moves to draw its final borders, either unilaterally or in negotiations with the Palestinians. Jerusalem is one of the thorniest issues the two sides face.

The walled Old City, which measures about 1 square kilometer, holds shrines holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians. It is flanked by Jewish neighborhoods in the west and Arab neighborhoods in the east that Israel annexed after the June 1967 Mideast war but never really integrated into the city.

Some 63 percent of those surveyed by Tazpit were willing to make concessions on Jerusalem of some sort under a final peace deal. A total of 54.4 percent said they were willing to give up only Arab neighorhoods in east Jerusalem.

Some 5.4 percent were willing to give up the Arab neighborhoods, the Old City's Jewish Quarter, the Mount of Olives with its Jewish and Christian holy sites, but not the Western Wall, the last remnant of the biblical Jewish Temples.

Only 3.2 percent were willing to give up the Arab neighborhoods, the Jewish Quarter, the Mount of Olives and the Western Wall. People who defined themselves as secular were three times as likely to agree to concessions than those who defined themselves as religious, the survey showed. Nearly 63 percent of all the religious Jews surveyed weren't willing to make any concessions on Jerusalem, as opposed to 21 percent of secular Jews, reports the AP. N.U.