Many settlers would evacuate, survey finds

About 30 percent of the residents in West Bank settlements outside the major blocs would evacuate for compensation even if there were no peace deal with the Palestinians, a new survey found.

The survey released this week also found that nearly 50 percent of the 100,000 settlers living in areas likely to become part of a Palestinian state under a peace agreement would voluntarily evacuate after an agreement, while 40 percent would not.

The survey was undertaken for the Israeli organization Blue White Future, a nonpartisan group working to encourage settlers to relocate within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. The organization is headed by former Israeli internal security chief Ami Ayalon and former Israeli peace negotiator Gilad Sher.

Conducted last August by the Macro Center for Political Economics, the survey sampled 501 individuals by telephone and has a margin of error of 4.5 percent. Similar surveys were conducted in 2008 and 2012 with virtually identical results.

Sher said an Israeli government-enacted voluntary evacuation and compensation law, under which up to 30,000 settlers in far-flung settlements would move within the pre-1967 borders or in settlements that would be annexed under a peace deal, would “unequivocally demonstrate that Israel is serious about seeking a two-state solution. It would also begin to create a reality of two states while the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations continue and, in fact, increase the chances of the negotiation track succeeding.” — jta