Egyptians, Jordanians Question Peace with Israel

Washington, Feb. 22 – Recent polls in Egypt and Jordan show a plurality in both countries favor revoking their peace treaties with Israel – but the amount of support the accords still maintain should be a source of encouragement, according to a public opinion expert.

Dr. David Pollock of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy told a conference call sponsored by The Israel Project that the revolution that overthrew Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak last year has left many question marks about the country’s political future including its relationship with Israel.

In a Pechter poll in Egypt taken earlier this month, 38 percent favored ending the peace treaty while 31 percent disagreed. The rest either did not know or refused to respond.

“Considering the history, I think this is relatively encouraging finding,” Pollock said. “What I think this shows is that there is some flexibility on Egyptian opinion on this issue.”

Pollock, who served in the State Department for many years in advisory and planning positions covering South Asia and the Middle East, said that a poll taken in Jordan late last year found 52 percent of respondents favored ending that country’s peace treaty with Israel while 41 percent disagreed.

“I take comfort that there seems to be a pretty wide pragmatic streak in both of these countries,” he said, also noting that “there is a difference typically even in democracies between public opinion and leadership.”

Public opinion in Lebanon remains very hostile to Israel, Pollock said. Israel has fought wars in the country with the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah that dominates Lebanon’s defense and political arenas and has over 40,000 rockets ready to fire at Israel.

Pollock said that measuring opinions in Syria, currently in the throes of a revolt against President Bashar Assad, is nearly impossible now and the opposition is deeply divided over the future of the country.

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