HAIFA, Israel - A recent poll revealed that 40 percent of Israeli Arabs believe the Holocaust was fabricated, while less than half - 41 percent - accept Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.
Haifa University Professor Sami Samocha, who conducted the survey, said Israeli Arabs have become increasingly negative over the 35 years in which he has monitored Arab-Jewish relations.
For example, in the past year, 41 percent of respondents took part in various anti-Israel protests, compared with 28 percent six years ago, according to the professor.
Samocha believes Israel is responsible for the deterioration, citing the October 2000 Arab riots, as a turning point.
The riots began just after then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount on September 28.
Samocha's conclusions discount evidence that the late Yasser Arafat used Sharon's visit as an excuse to launch the second intifada , which continued through 2004.
The Haifa University professor also points to the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, sparked by a cross-border attack by Hezbollah terrorists.
Samocha further blames Israel's economic blockade of the Gaza Strip, imposed in response to eight years of Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israel, as another contributing factor.
"In the past three or four years, we are witnessing the results of the October 2000 riots," the professor said. "Should this continue, the negative positions will grow stronger," he said.
According to the professor, in 1995, only 7 percent of Israeli Arab citizens didn't recognize Israel's right to exist, compared with 22 percent in 2008.
Samocha also said that today 47 percent of Israeli Arabs do not want Jewish neighbors, compared with 27.2 percent in 2003.
Source: YNet News