Poll: Most Israelis back settlement construction

Nearly six of every 10 Israelis think Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should resist US demands to completely freeze construction in Jewish West Bank settlements, according to a new poll released Friday. The poll by the Maagar Mohot Polling Institute comes just ahead of Netanyahu's major policy speech on Sunday that is expected to address a growing divide with Washington. US President Barack Obama has said he wants to aggressively pursue Mideast peacemaking, and the halt of all building on land the Palestinians claim for their future state has been a key US demand. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed said Netanyahu should not consent to the American demand to halt all settlement construction, as opposed to 37 percent who said he should. Fifty percent said failure to comply would not provoke a crisis with the US, while 32 percent said they thought the settlement freeze was a "make or break" issue for Washington.