Survey: Egyptians and Saudis favor regional peace process

According to a new study conducted in Egypt and Saudi Arabia in advance of the Herzliya Conference, there is greater public support in those countries for a regional peace initiative involving Israel, the Palestinians and Arab countries than one sponsored by countries outside the Middle East. 
However, many of those surveyed do not believe a peace process with Israel is necessary in the first place.
The study was conducted by Professor Alex Mintz, chairman of the Herzliya Conference, the flagship event of the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. One of the questions the survey posed was: Should the next U.S. president sponsor peace talks with Israel and the Palestinians, or push for a regional peace initiative? The survey found that 32% of Egyptians favor a regional peace initiative, while 25% believe that international assistance is necessary to obtain a peace deal. Forty-two percent of those surveyed do not feel there is a need for a peace deal at all. 
In Saudi Arabia, 39% of those surveyed favor a regional peace initiative, while 19% prefer one sponsored by leaders from outside the Middle East. Thirty-nine percent believe a peace process with Israel is unwarranted.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes the French peace initiative, which promotes internationally sponsored negotiations with the Palestinians, and prefers a regional peace process backed by moderate Muslim nations. According to the survey, a greater percentage of Saudis and Egyptians supports Netanyahu's position than the French peace initiative.
Respondents were also asked whether they believed U.S. President Barack Obama has had a positive effect on their country. Nearly 44% of respondents in both Egypt and Saudi Arabia say they feel the Obama presidency has been detrimental to their countries. Fewer than 20% believe he has had a positive impact on the Muslim world.



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