Poll shows some settlers would leave W. Bank if paid

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JERUSALEM — Thirty-two percent of settlers would be willing to leave their communities if offered "reasonable" compensation, while 26 percent would stay in the settlements under any conditions, according to a Modi'in Ezrahi survey commissioned by Peace Now.

The telephone survey, which studied settler attitudes toward their future, the peace process and their willingness to move, was conducted on August 17 among a representative sample of 419 Jews in the territories. The margin of error is 4.9 percent.

Asked if they would be willing to leave the settlement with their families "for reasonable compensation," 15 percent said they would "surely" be willing, and another 17 percent said they "think they would." By contrast, 59 percent said either they would "surely not," or "do not think they would" be willing to leave for compensation. The rest were either undecided or refused to answer.

The poll found that willingness to leave is greater the farther the settlements are from Jerusalem, in places such as Ariel, Emmanuel, Alfei Menashe and Kiryat Arba.

Dr. Ella Heller, who conducted the survey, said 30 percent of the settlers are "soft" — they did not move to the territories for ideological reason and would leave. A hard core of 31 percent of the settlers are ideologically motivated and would not leave. Others fall somewhere in between.

Asked what they would do "if your settlement will not be included in the state's boundaries in the final agreement with the Palestinians," 26 percent said they would stay in the settlements under any conditions; 29 percent said they will remain if security remains in the hands of the Israeli army; 25 percent would prefer moving within the Green Line (pre-1967 borders); 8 percent would move to another settlement in the territories; and less than 1 percent said they would leave the country. Others were undecided.

Among the poll's other findings:

*Forty-seven percent of the settlers said they live in the territories for economic or quality-of-life reasons, 36 percent for religious or nationalistic reasons and 15 percent for a combination of reasons. The rest either did not know how to define their motivations, were undecided, or refused to answer.

*Some 75 percent of the settlers believe that in five years they will be living in the same settlement they live in now, while 11 percent think they will be living inside the Green Line, 5 percent in another settlement and less than 1 percent abroad. The rest did not know.

*Thirty-two percent of the respondents believe their settlement will be annexed to Israel, while 7 percent believe it will be evacuated and they will receive compensation, as occurred in the Sinai town of Yamit. The majority, 44 percent, believe their settlement will not be evacuated and that their security will remain in the Israeli army's hands.

*Twenty-five percent of the settlers defined themselves "in general" as "supporting the peace process between Israel and the Arabs," compared with a national figure of 57 percent. Opposed to the process are 58 percent, as compared to a 28 percent nationwide figure.