75% of Arabs in Israel consider Israeli military actions in Lebanon to be war crimes.
A public opinion poll of Palestinians in Israel on the war in Lebanon shows that a majority have very low opinions towards the Israeli army, 75% stated that army officials should be held accountable and put on trial for committing war crimes in Lebanon. A high level of skepticism of Israel's reasons for going to war was discovered, 43% of respondents believed that Israel's military attack in Lebanon would have occurred regardless of the kidnapping by Hezbollah of the two Israeli soldiers. Over half of respondents (52%) believed that the war's objective was to serve US interests.
This survey was conducted by MADA al-Carmel's Survey Research Unit on 20th-23rd August 2006, about one week after the ceasefire was declared. The survey used a representative sample of 500 Arab citizens of Israel, with the intention to gather this population's opinions on a variety of aspects about the war.
As far as where the responsibility for starting the war lies, 32% think that Israel initiated the war. In terms of the war's outcome, over half (58%) stated that there was no winning side. A lesser percentage (34%) believed that Hezbollah was the winner in the war and only 3% thought that Israel won. In regards to a possible future attack, 43% think that Israel will hesitate to attack Hezbollah again.
In reaction to questions on the relationship between the Arab and Jewish populations in Israel there was no consensus. A third (32%) said that the war caused a deterioration in Arab-Jewish relations, another stated that relations stayed the same and the remaining third felt an improvement.
As far as being able to express their opinions about the war to the Israeli public, only 34% of Arabs said that they could express their true opinions to a medium extent and 41% said they could to a small degree or not at all.
A low opinion of the Israeli state's conduct towards its Arab citizens was revealed, a majority (66%) think that the state did not assist Arab citizens in the north to the same extent as it helped Jewish inhabitants. When questioned whether they thought that government policy towards Arab citizens would worsen as a result of the war, only 23% thought policies would deteriorate.
The respondents were asked about their media consumption during the war, a high number (69%) relied on Arab satellite channels as their main source of information. Respondents were asked to rate how reliable they considered the news reports of five separate channels on events during the war; a majority (64%) considered the Arab news channel Al-Jazeera as having the highest level of credibility. 46% considered Hezbollah's Al-Manar station to have credible information. The three remaining channels were Israeli and they had low ratings. A minority (5%) considered Israel's official channel 1 as having high credibility and 11% regarded the news reporting of commercial channels 2 and 10 as being credible. When asked to compare Hezbollah's and the Israeli army's reporting of events, over half (55%) considered Hezbollah's reports to be more reliable and only 9% thought that Israeli reports were trustworthy.
A set of questions were asked directly to those Arab respondents that lived in the north of Israel, as they were directly affected by the war. Out of those questioned only 2.3% said that they left their homes during the war. When asked why they believed that there were so many Arab deaths in Israel the main answers were: 69% said it was because there were not enough bunkers in Arab areas; 53% because Arabs ignored safety instructions; and 37% because there are Israeli military bases near Arab villages. Significantly, when northern residents were asked whether they felt solidarity from the rest of the Arab population in Israel the answers were equally split, with 52% feeling medium to high levels of solidarity and (48%) feeling little or none.