The Blog

Israelis Want to Kill Hamas Leaders, Not Talk With Them

11:16 AM, May 19, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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A new poll conducted by Israel's Television Channel 10 was released over the weekend:

What would you prefer for the Government of Israel to do today: reach a ceasefire agreement with Hamas or continue the war against it?
Total: Reach deal 33% Continue war 56% Other replies 11%

Should the IDF act today to physically destroy the Hamas leaders?
Total: No 22% Yes 49% Other 29%

Those advocating engagement with Hamas often point to a (largely discredited) poll conducted by Haaretz earlier this year as evidence that a majority of Israelis favor such talks. The poll results were flogged endlessly by Glenn Greenwald, Ezra Klein, and others as proof that it was only hardline American neoconservatives who were preventing Israelis from engaging in what would surely be a productive round of negotiations with Hamas. So what will they say now that a new poll shows the Israelis would much prefer killing Hamas's leaders to talking with them?

I'm guessing nothing. This was never about what the Israelis wanted, it was about forcing the Israelis to the negotiating table. Supporters of J Street (all 12 of them) know what's best for Israel, and they don't need any "actual Israelis" to tell them different.